Photo Courtesy of IMDb
Story by Lance Egly / Contributing Writer
In this modern age where technology and social media are a part of everyday life,people’s lives have never been more interconnected. This becomes increasingly apparent for the fictional characters of Jay Asher’s novel-turned-Netflix series “Thirteen Reasons Why.”
The 13-episode mini-series, produced by Selena Gomez, premiered March 31 on Netflix. The show is relevant today — perhaps even more so than when the book originally came out. “Thirteen Reasons Why” delves into the human psyche of those left behind and some who are even responsible for a young girl’s suicide.
If the story had been published in 2017 rather than 2007 , one wonders if Hannah might have used a social network to tell her story.
Hello boys and girls,
Hannah Baker here.
Live and in stereo.”
It would be beyond strange to find a shoe box filled with cassette tapes on your doorstep featuring a recently deceased classmate, but what if recorded on those tapes are the 13 reasons why she killed herself and which 13 people should be held accountable.
For Clay Jensen, the protagonist, this scenario has become a reality. As he listens to the tapes, Hannah reveals many secrets and explanations that — but only to a select few. The tapes are numbered and assigned according to who they’re about and who should be listening.
And as Hannah Baker says in the beginning of the tapes,“Now, why would a dead girl lie?”
As Clay ponders the reasoning behind her death and the tapes, he’s also trying to figure out why anyone hasn’t broken the chain. He wonders if the 13 people on the list were actually responsible for Hannah’s suicide and, if the tapes are so damning, why haven’t they simply destroyed them?
…Hannah wants us, those of us on the list,
to hear what she has to say.
And we’ll do what she says, if only to keep them away from the people not on the list.”
But the series is an unsettling example of when art imitates life as it points to a trend in very public suicides, which has become hauntingly common.
After all, since the book’s publication, similar stories have surfaced in the news: On Dec. 30, 2016, in Polk County, Georgia, 12-year-old Katelyn Nicole Davis began a Facebook Live video and proceeded to hang herself outside her home. She was an avid blogger who claimed to have been sexually abused by a male member of her family. She also posted videos of arguments between her mother and herself. She wrote that her stepfather had told her to kill herself days prior.
In 2016 a 22-year-old Turkish man, Erdogan Ceren, shot himself while broadcasting on Facebook Live and claimed a break-up was the cause. In real time, pleas poured in, but sadly, the messages went unnoticed.
A native teen of Lavergne, Tennessee, Sherokee Harriman, had allegedly been the target of bullying for quite some time, according to reports by her family. After a certain point, she felt she could no longer defend herself and in the fall of 2016, the 14-year-old confronted her bullies in a public park. She stabbed herself, fatally, in the stomach in front of the people she believed to be the cause.
Numerous other cases similar to these exist, and it’s emerging as a more and more common way for someone to end their life. For Hannah, she wanted an opportunity to explain herself and her situation truthfully. She wanted to make a statement that no one could argue. Potentially, the three people all wanted the same thing: to be heard.
Secrets run rampant throughout the series, but to find out who and what led to Hannah Baker’s suicide, you’ll have to watch, read and listen– beginning with Tape 1.
And ending when her life does.
Warning: 13 Reasons Why contains graphic depictions of suicide, self-harm, sexual assault and rape. Proceed with caution.
If you or anyone you know may be suicidal, feel free to call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit the website to talk with someone confidentially. You are not alone.