’13 Reasons why’ has been a topic of conversation since it has aired, with people having differing views on the subject. When I was younger, 13 Reasons why was one of the first books I read (when I say first, I count out children’s books like Topsy and Tim and Laura’s star – yes I read the book because it had my name on the front) It was my first adult book. And when I say read, I got half way through it and then my sister ripped it, however, I digress. I knew the story which was my point which is one of the reasons why I wanted to do a review now, as my opinion has changed.
The story follows a girl who has already committed suicide and has left 13 reasons why she did. These reasons are what people did to her. The aim of the story is that they have to listen to all the reasons why she killed herself and then pass it on to the next one until the last person, and if they don’t, the tapes would be leaked out by someone she has entrusted. When I read the book, I didn’t really believe the story and I thought that the reasons she was coming out with were silly and that everyone has gone through things and not ended their lives, which just shows how much I was shielded by my ignorance. Now watching the TV series, I could see how manipulative people can be, how gossip is at the forefront and how that can ultimately affect someone. Maybe it was because it didn’t read the whole book or maybe it was because of my age, but now I see how the story can happen. When you see all the small things on their own you don’t see much of a cause and effect relationship however when you see everything pile on at once you can see how someone might not be able to cope.
Something I really loved about the series was the use of shots. There was such an interesting range in capturing the emotion and trying to get angles that would be daunting for some filmmakers to use. The use of colour with those shots really conveyed the two times within the story. The colourful, vibrant, warm feel when Hannah was still alive was pleasing to the eye. Then the use of bleak, dull, white-ish colours after, showed that change after her death in so many ways. One scene I liked, in particular, was the last one when Clay was talking to Mr Porter about Hannah telling him he knows what he did. This changed from that moment in time to back when Hannah went to see him, so we saw exactly how Mr Porter treated her. The transition from times was something that used this method with colour which had me smiling at the screen as it looked impressive, to me and really worked with the story. The idea of her narrating when she wasn’t there also helped to transition and made the story be led by her without her even really being there, which was interesting and powerful to see.
Something I really didn’t love was the ending. I know, I know people never like endings anymore as they’re always claiming they are predictable. No, I’m not claiming that. The series followed, built and conveyed a story that, to me, ended as a bit of a disappointment. There was so much tension, so much worry and upset regarding these tapes and when they are announced they aren’t really spoken about, even though it was something that led the whole story. This was a total shame as now I feel slightly robbed of an ending. The idea of them making a second series about a school shooting (as that seemed to be hinted at the end) with the same message of ‘how we treat each other is important’ is something that needs to be portrayed however I don’t feel it should be connected to this story. The series didn’t allow me to put an emotional close on the story and although most stories like to keep you hanging, I think in this case it was a little bit cruel. The characters needed some sort of closure, I needed closure (even though I know it doesn’t happen in real life), the ending for me just strayed too far away from Hannah’s story and was more about the others and if I’m honest whether they were going to hurt themselves now or kill each other, which didn’t fulfil the ending I was looking for.
I had been waiting for this series for a long time so I ended up watching ’13 reasons why’ over the period of two days because I was eager to know what Clay had so awfully done. Which, in retrospect, he just wasn’t there for her. This helps make people think about how we should treat each other but also most importantly how you should be there for each other too. Personally, I think there are holes in the story with Hannah tormenting Clay when he didn’t really do anything wrong, if anything I thought he was an amazing friend and he did his best, he couldn’t help who he was. However, the story was interesting and different. It wasn’t a typical boring story about teenage suicide. (I know that sounds weird because when is suicide ever fun – never!) But in the sense of making people want to listen and want to watch and I think that is credit you can’t take away from the story and the series that was created.