So. What’s up with the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why?”
This series is based off of a book published ten years ago by Jay Asher, which is about a young girl who committed suicide, leaving behind 13 audio tapes to the people she considered the reasons as to why she killed herself. The series itself is rated TV-MA for mature audiences for a plethora of reasons, including the suicide, of course, as well as graphic images and descriptions of self-harm, bullying, and rape.
While the Netflix series has a high rating, the book itself is generally aimed towards teens. I know that one of my younger cousins has read the story, and I’ve seen Rachel pick it up off of Barnes and Noble’s bookshelves to give it a look, but due to the summary of the novel, I was never interested in looking at it farther than the blurb on the back cover. Suicide is such a serious and sad topic that, while I’m sure the author handled it very sensitively, the thought of reading about it for fictional drama was not for me.
(Similarly, it’s why I’ve never read The Hunger Games series, although I know how much its fans love it. I can’t wrap my mind around a world that actively televised and watched children kill each other. It sounds a little strange, considering the other kind of high fantasy I read, but I digress.)
“13 Reasons Why” on Netflix is making quite a few headlines lately, most notably with people condemning it for “romanticizing” suicide. Others claim that it’s sensitive to the difficult topic, that it’s a great tool for opening up conversations between parents and teens about suicide, bullying, self-harm, rape.
Schools are sending out mass emails and letters to parents to warn them about this series that many of their children are already watching, despite the MA rating. It was the dominate topic of conversation at the dinner table just last night between my parents, Rachel, me and my two teenage cousins who were joining us. They hear their classmates talking about it all over their schools, and their curiosities were piqued. The older of the pair had read the book, but I don’t believe she had realized how graphic the episodes could be.
We all spoke about how difficult and series the topics that “13 Reasons Why” touches upon, about how graphic the show may showcase the issues as, about why it’s important to understand the sensitivity and severity of the topics. They seemed receptive of the outcome of the conversation, but I fear they didn’t understand how serious the issues are.
It’s a little bittersweet, actually. Perhaps they don’t grasp the seriousness because they have been lucky enough to not have had experienced any of those issues in their little worlds, and I pray that they and everyone else who touches their lives never has to.
Again, I haven’t read the book or seen the series, nor am I inclined to do so, and I do not mean to offend anyone with my opinions. These are just my thoughts on this bit of controversy that’s surrounding a television series that had started as a book. Anyone else have thoughts on “13 Reasons Why?”