Grab your popcorn because on March 31, 2017, the novel “13 Reasons Why” will be released as a Netflix original series.
The show, based off the 2007 number one New York Times and international bestselling novel by Jay Asher, follows students of a high school in Crestmont, California and focuses on the grief that a community goes through after a child commits suicide.
The novel tells the story of Hannah Baker and the 13 people, 13 events and 13 reasons why she committed suicide. Cassette tapes are delivered to Clay Jensen, one of Hannah’s classmates, which contain Hannah’s self-told story of her life up to her suicide. The first cassette is begins with, “Settle in. Because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening, you’re one of the reasons why.” Clay later uses the lessons he learned from Hannah’s story to reach out to another student he suspects is struggling with depression.
Asher brings the moral of “everything affects everything” to life by describing the seemingly unrelated events that led Hannah to her death. The story reminds us all of this moral. The way we treat each other matters — a lot.
The show, directed by Oscar winner Tom McCarthy, follows Mrs. Baker (Kate Walsh) as she deals with the death of her daughter, Hannah (Katherine Langford). The series goes back and forth between Clay’s (Dylan Minnette) present life and flashbacks from stories that Hannah is weaving, setting a mystery for everyone watching. While Clay is listening to the tapes, he has no idea where he’s going to fit into her story and no one knows who the next tape will be about. There is always the fear that the next tape will be about him — that he played a role in her death and Hannah herself will narrate the reason aloud.
There are definitely more than 13 reasons why you should watch this show. One of them is the way that it handles grief, depression and suicide. These are all important yet virtually unheard topics in today’s society. The novel and show both tackle the events that pushed Hannah to kill herself and how people react to her death. It is shown throughout the stories she tells that she reached out for help; that she attempted to give life one more chance — but no help was given. This portrayal can allow for a larger discussion about suicide and can guide students as well as teachers to have better interactions with each other.
Get ready to “settle in,” as Hannah says, “because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically why my life ended.”