By Cindy Sanawong
“Get a snack, settle in. Because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. Or more specifically, why my life ended,” said lead female character Hannah Baker in the first episode of Netflix original series, “13 Reasons Why.”
That is exactly what Netflix enthusiasts did during the premiere of “13 Reasons Why” on Friday, March 3.
The series is based on the 2007 Jay Asher novel which was listed on The New York Times Best Seller’s list of young adult novels in 2011.
Created by Brian Yorkey, the show deals with sensitive issues of suicide, bullying, sexual assault, anxiety and depression.
“I like the book better than the TV show,” said junior Samantha Bartol. “Both of them are good in the fact that they show the importance of being kind to one another. And they also have feminist themes, which I think is really important to be talking about right now.”
The show centers on the life and death of Baker. She is a junior at Liberty High School and commits suicide because of 13 different reasons. These reasons are then explained to each of the characters who had influenced the end of her life.
The explanation of her death was passed on through a mysterious box that appeared on the main male character, Clay Jensen’s doorstep. In the box are 13 recorded cassette tapes that Baker recorded before she died.
These cassettes were Baker’s personal diary accounts of her traumatic high school life, experiences that she went through and the reasons why she ended her life, which are revealed on the tape.
The tapes reveal several other characters, including her former friends Jessica Davis and Alex Standall. Even Baker’s close friend, Jensen, is mentioned in one of her recordings.
Every person included in the cassette tapes were a huge contributing factor to why Baker commits suicide.
“I’m in the middle of the show right now and I’m looking forward to seeing how Clay was involved in Hannah’s death because he’s a main character and I feel like the show will take a major twist when he gets to Hannah’s tape about him,” said senior Tom Spierto.
Baker pinpoints the start to her life’s downhill spiral when she went on a date with her first high school crush, Justin Foley. They went to the park and she had her first kiss. The date seemed fun and innocent, but what she didn’t know was that her date had taken an unflattering picture of her. He showed it to one of his friends and his friend then posted the picture all over social media.
Baker’s high school peers attacked her by body shaming her and they made a list that went around the school. She was also cyber bullied and guys sexually harassed her by treating her as a sexual object, rather than treating her as a human being.
This was only the start of her torment.
As high school goes on, more events take place with different students adding to her pain.
For Baker, she felt that her life and high school reputation were in complete shambles and felt that there was no way out.
She takes her own life in the ending episodes by slitting her wrists in a bathtub where her parents find her.
Her parents play a big role in the series by pursuing a lawsuit against the high school for not doing anything about bullying. The end of the season shows her parents getting to listen to the tapes and finally understanding why their daughter took her own life.
American actress and singer Selena Gomez was one of the executive producers for the show. She and two of the cast members, Alisha Boe and Tommy Dorfman, got matching tattoos of a black semicolon, which represent mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
The story sheds light on how it’s okay to ask for help before something serious and tragic happens, as in Baker’s case.
“I can’t stop watching it,” said junior Nina Miglio. “To relate to each character is a powerful feeling and I think they nailed that aspect. I hope they make more seasons.”