“13 Reasons Why” viewer discretion is advised


“13 Reasons Why” is a series that hits close to home for many teenagers and it does not leave much to the imagination because of how graphic it is.

There has been a buzz around the release of Netflix’s new series, “13 Reasons Why,” which is based on Jay Asher’s novel of the same name and co-produced by Selena Gomez.

“13 Reasons Why” brings the novel to life as it follows Clay Jensen, the show’s narrator, after Hannah Baker leaves behind 13 tapes which detail the reasons why she killed herself.

“13 Reasons Why” stands out over other high school shows, not only because of the character development after the death of a peer but also due to the story addressing the reality of having a character having a mental illness and experiencing rape.

Like any show, it has its flaws. For the most part, the show should’ve stayed more like the book, but the story went in-depth with the development of the characters instead of focusing solely on Clay and Hannah.

Whether the novel is a distinct memory from high school or a favorite of yours, it is apparent that some details have changed.

The first noticeable difference is the point of view. The novel is told in the first person, which gives off an intimate conversation between Clay and Hannah. The show is still focused on Clay and the events that led Hannah to her suicide. However, there are more plot lines that exclude Clay entirely which develop other characters and their personal relationships with one another.

Another difference is the timeline of the show. Clay spends some number of days listening to the tapes in the show, Clay binge listens to the tapes and finishes them in one night in the novel. Because of Clay listening to the tapes over several days, it gives him time to confront the people on the tapes, which also didn’t happen in the book.

The biggest change was Clay and Hannah’s relationship, or lack thereof. In the book, the two characters work together but they don’t have a real conversation until “the party.” In the show, the two are very romanticized. At one point, Clay even tells the school counselor, who is also on the tapes, “I cost a girl her life because I was too afraid to love her.” There was no indication of love at all between the two characters in the novel but viewers always enjoy a love story.

There are several other major changes from the book such as the addition of Jeff Atkins, the only real nice guy in this show and minor changes in certain characters like Courtney.

The viewers spend 13 heartbreaking episodes listening to Hannah’s tapes. However, it’s important to understand that the trigger warnings in the latter episodes shouldn’t be taken lightly.

The last few episodes have the same exact trigger warnings at the start of the episode: “The following episode contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing and/or may not be suitable for younger audiences, including graphic depictions of violence and suicide. Viewer discretion is advised.”

Graphic to someone might not mean the same thing to another. There are rape scenes and and intense suicide scene that are tough to watch. But “13 Reasons Why” has a very important message, be aware of the following trigger warnings: abuse, sexual harassment, rape, blood, self harm and suicide.

“13 Reasons Why” is not mindless entertainment and isn’t a show meant for binge watching. It is haunting, devastating and tremendously uncomfortable for viewers. “13 Reasons Why” is meant to start discussions about mental illness, sexual assault and suicide and hopefully empower people to ask for help.