Review 13 REASONS WHY - Was Suicide Her Only Option?

If you or someone you love has thoughts of suicide, depression, or helplessness, please let someone know. someone cares, they really do, I know because I care about you, I don't have to know you to understand your value. I'm in Texas, but, there is a nationwide hotline you can start with Suicide Lifeline. there is another way, let someone help you explore your options. hugs 1-800-273-8255

PLEASE NOTE: this contains spoilers of the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why based upon the novel of the same name by Jay Asher.

It’s hard for me to put into words how this series made me feel. I raised two boys who are now in their twenties, but, still have my 17 year old daughter at home. My sons really didn’t experience bullying. However, my daughter is another story. Even though she’d been at the same school since late Kindergarten, she was anointed an outcast. Some of the things that happened made me so angry, I remember once jumping out of my car and screaming at one boy involved in one incident. I didn’t give a shit if his parents saw me or not. Through many years and many tears, she grew older. Her sophomore year, a popular kid asked her to homecoming dance. She found out a few days later it was only a joke…yes, A JOKE. Somehow, he thought it was funny to ask her and then take it back. #totaldouche

We switched schools because I moved to a new town and although reticent at first, she’s happier here. She’s a junior in high school this year, and feeling more at ease in this new school environment. I must admit her trust levels remain extremely guarded because of everything she experienced. The early episodes of 13 made me occasionally cringe, and actually stop watching, because it vaguely reminded me of what she went through. However, I’d start again, anxious to see how the story ended for the other characters involved. I mean, would ANY of them adopt some moral code and somber acceptance of how they contributed to someone else’s demise?

I immediately felt protective of Hannah Baker, and wished this would end differently. I wanted to let her know those horrible times would eventually be nothing more than a bad memory, and she would find happier days. But, this series was not geared toward saving her, we know she will eventually die by her own hand.

I got extremely frustrated at how many times Clay Jensen stopped listening to the tapes and demand his friend, Tony, tell him what happened. JUST LISTEN! I wanted to scream at him. I felt like I was held hostage in DFW traffic, road rage translated to viewer rage. Later, when I really thought about his hesitance, I was reminded of someone I know. This person would drag their feet, hide, or whatever it took to avoid anything unpleasant- news, family, change, etc. I could never understand it. I’m the type to face it head on, dive in, get it OVER with. Realizing not everyone is like me, I took a step back and accepted Clay had to listen in his own time, stopping at his own required intervals.

I absolutely don’t understand why eventually Tony answers, “yes”, when Clay asks him for the hundredth time if he was actually the ONE that killed Hannah. When I watched the next episode, yes, I see where Clay and Hannah have an argument, but, nothing says it was all Clay’s fault. In fact, Hannah is raped after her argument with Clay, and she visits a very unhelpful Mr. Porter. When Tony answered that question in the affirmative, I believe he misled Clay, causing cruel stress. Hannah does reveal Clay is in those tapes, but, she also explains Clay doesn’t really fit in with those tyrants.

During the story, I had to admit I kept wondering how this girl, Hannah, ended up in the middle of some crappy and messed up situations. For some reason, bad luck followed her like she’d broken mirrors for months straight. It wasn’t always because she made bad choices, she honestly tried to help folks sometimes. She kept returning to the same crew who jilted her, used her, and disregarded her. This is how strong the will to be liked can be for an outsider. Popular folks won’t understand the daily struggle to be heard, noticed, or simply acknowledged. The unseen become a fire extinguisher on the wall- always there, yet, always ignored.

I have complaints about what I consider “plot holes”. For instance, when Marcus plants marijuana in Clay’s backpack, the school administration assumes it’s Clay’s personal stash for obvious reasons. But, why didn’t he demand fingerprints on the bag, or a drug test to prove his innocence. His mother is an attorney, and she didn’t demand this? I’m at a loss on this one.

Hannah is smart, and savvy, coming to some serious conclusions along her horribly rocky road. She understands these people, and their desire to hide their secrets. So, I ask this question, in the end, how come she stayed in the hot tub alone with Bryce, the rapist she so dreads? Why in the hell would she actually do that? When the scriptwriters left her in the hot tub, they greatly diminished their protagonists’ credibility.

I dislike how the “villains” of this story seem to get away with all their evil doings- Especially Bryce. This whole troupe gets away scot free without concern. Even when Sherri calls 911 to report her involvement with the stop sign, we don’t actually see what she faces as a result. Further, when Jeff died as a result of the missing stop sign, wouldn’t the coroner have done a blood alcohol test as part of the autopsy? If Jeff wasn’t intoxicated, as Clay defends, the blood test would clear him as not being a drunk driver. Jeff’s parents should’ve demanded such tests and explanations.

The series spent so much time building up what all of these bullies did- how come we, the viewers, don’t receive the satisfaction of at least some received consequence? The reality is, some of them will get away with everything but, hopefully, some would receive a wakeup call to their conscience. But, damn, some of these folks deserve some serious repercussions. We spend the entire 13 episodes watching these kids rip Hannah apart, and then….nothing.

Even at the end, Jessica was more angry at her boyfriend, Justin, than Bryce. I get it…I really do. The guy proclaiming to love you and supposedly protect you lets some monster rape you. But, where is the anger toward Bryce? Again, I see the whole crew protecting this rapist instead of throwing him off the island.

Hannah’s parents receive the audio files at long last, and we get nothing about their response? We follow every heartbreaking step they make, why do we not see how this file affects them? Although certainly not bringing her back, will they confront Mr. Porter, the counselor, who had a final chance to show Hannah life was worth living? What is the outcome for Mr. Porter? Will he continue to believe he had NO idea she was contemplating suicide? Or, will the administration keep protecting him and the popular assholes who run the school?

I appreciate the tragic, painstaking scene showing Hannah actually taking the razor blade to her wrists. I had to turn away and couldn’t watch the entire act. Suicide is not glamorous, and shouldn’t be made to appear like some glittery trip into the twilight. Suicide is also final, a fact not always really grasped by young people. Adolescents sometimes want their act of self-harm to truly be their cry for help, and they don’t necessarily mean to die, like for real. Death in movies makes it seem there can be a do-over, a chance to get it right. But, when someone engages in an act to end their life, it just might END their life, not be a desire for help. Those pills, rope, blades, or a gun can- and will- bring mortal harm to a human body. I don’t mean this as throwing shade on a young person’s understanding, I want this to be made crystal clear.

Finally, we have Alex the gunshot “victim”. Did he pull the trigger himself, or who actually committed the deed? How does this even fit into the story? Each of the first 12 episodes invested much time in developing the characters, their behaviors, the interactions…I felt like episode 13 threw everything together and ended abruptly without sufficient explanation for the huge storylines created.

Where did Hannah mail the other set of tapes??
Why did she pick Tony to pass the tapes??

What gives?

I want to read the book, as a comparison between the two.

I’m giving this one **** 4 snowflakes.


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