Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher was published in 2007. I was able to know about the book and get my own copy back in 2009. I still have it. When I purged half of my bookshelf, Thirteen Reasons Why remained. It was not a book that bought me joy. It wasn’t something that made me feel good about myself or have that tingly feeling that most of my other books cause me. In fact, it was the total opposite. I felt nothing but negative feelings. It made me sad, and angry, so, so angry. It made me cry – which is actually not a feat since most Disney movies make me cry, but you get my point.
And… it also made me feel ashamed. Because, really, with the worsening call-out culture in the internet lately, did you not feel that you could be someone’s reason why? It may be a small thing to us, but what about the opposite party? It was something I realized a few months back. It was the “cool” thing to do. To call someone out because of one wrong tweet or another and talk about it publicly on social media. I took a step back and realized how wrong it was. I didn’t actively participate in the call-out, but I did favorite a few tweets and otherwise kept quiet about it, and that’s not helping, is it? Is it so hard nowadays to send a private message instead of going all, “HAHAHA, your opinion is stupid and invalid, let me retweet this to my 1000+ followers with a witty message and urge them all to call you out, too”? It’s bloody ironic that we now call-out calling out.
But let’s go back to the topic at hand – and say no to the extreme call-out culture of social media, while at it.
Thirteen reasons why. Thirteen little tapes that contain each reason and person why high school student Hannah Baker made the decision to kill herself. To commit suicide.
I would just like to point it out here that this post is not spoiler free. Turn back now, if you haven’t read/watched it yet. You can read from under the line part instead as that contains a lot less fewer spoilers.
Tape 1, Side A. Justin Foley. Looks like a sweet guy. Popular, handsome. People on social media even defends him by saying he didn’t really do anything that bad on tape one, but I digress. He took Hannah out on a sweet, playful date on the playground, took a picture of her sliding down and capturing what’s under her skirt, shows said photo to his friends, and doesn’t really fight it when one guy shared the photo around school. There you have it, folks. Hannah Baker is a slut. Labels stick, they really do. It doesn’t matter if it happened in high school, in college, or in your workplace. The rumor mills work overtime and that label will be what people will think of when they see you.
Tape 1, Side B. Alex Standall. Best ass. How could that be a bad thing? Oh, I don’t know. Alex pitted Hannah against Jessica – and they were best friends. Thank you, Alex, for ruining Hannah and Jessica’s friendship for your own gain. It didn’t seem much, but when your ass is placed on a list that circulates the entire school… I’m sure Hannah felt like a piece of meat when everyone was looking at her behind.
Tape 2, Side A. Jessica Davis. A perfect example of how bad Tape 1, Side A is. Jessica didn’t even listen to Hannah’s side of the story and blamed Alex’s list on her. She believed the rumors that Hannah goes around, so why wouldn’t she move on her boyfriend?
Tape 2, Side B. Tyler Down. Tyler followed Hannah home and took photos of her through her bedroom window. The one place Hannah felt safe, and he took that from her, too.
Tape 3, Side A. Courtney Crimson. Everyone hates Courtney now, do they? I do feel a bit for her. At first. Everyone should have their own time on when they want to come out. Then she proceeded to tore into Hannah’s reputation to save her own skin and that is just not okay. This is just selfishness, if we want to keep it simple.
Tape 3, Side B. Marcus Cole. He wasn’t shown much on the show, but he was a douche. I hate him and I want to punch him. Another side effect from tape one. He though Hannah was ‘easy’ because of the rumors and would just let him do what he wants to her. Thanks, Marcus, for being a complete ass on Valentine’s Day.
Tape 4, Side A. Zach Dempsey. “She shouldn’t have humiliated him! He was being nice!” A few people on social media said. Is that it then? You were humiliated and decided to get even? Is that okay? He can’t handle Hannah’s rejection, Hannah’s “no” so he decided to take the notes in class that he knows she looks forward to every time. Is that how it goes, apologists?
Tape 4, Side B. Ryan Shaver. Another case of selfishness. He didn’t care much for Hannah’s consent and published her inner thoughts for the whole school to read, and criticize, and laugh at. It was basically a poem that says that she needs help, but the people in school thinks that it’s just for attention. Now, Hannah is not just a slut but also an attention-whore. Not safe in her school, her home, and now her own mind. He’s the one who didn’t have an ounce of apology for what he did – along with Bryce. I hate him, but I also kinda like him for calling out Courtney.
Tape 5, Side A. Clay Jensen, Helmet. The one tape that made me cry. I do agree that he doesn’t deserve to be on the tapes. Him leaving when Hannah screamed at him to do so is not his fault. If anything, it shows him respecting Hannah’s choice. I do wish he reached out more during the time that the rumors are rampant at school. Clay’s a bystander. Clay could be one of us. It’s so hard to be a Clay.
Tape 5, Side B. Justin, again. He stood by and let his friend rape his own girlfriend. I don’t know what else to say. Yes, we also found out that he has a bad home condition, but this will never excuse his mistakes – and they were big ones.
Tape 6, Side A. Sheri Holland. She did one of those stupid things that people will do if they know they can’t get caught. I felt bad that she has to live with the guilt forever, but her hesitance of reporting her knocking over a STOP sign probably caused someone his life. (JEFF DESERVED BETTER.)
Tape 6, Side B. Bryce Walker. The rapist. What’s worse is that he doesn’t think he did anything wrong until the very end. His tape made me uncomfortable so much. I could not finish it in two sittings. It was that bad. I hope he goes to jail. But we all know what happens to a white, rich boy even if they’re convicted of rape.
Tape 7, Side A. Mr. Porter. A few questions in and I already hated the guts. People trusted him to help out high school students? “Get over it.” Thanks for the advice. I can’t believe the nerve. And will you please turn off the phone when you’re talking to someone? The perfect example of how even when teenagers ask for help, not much people are really willing to listen. Ugh. I hate him almost as much as I hate Bryce.
I always say that I don’t recommend the show to everyone. I love the show, but it is very triggering. I didn’t experience anything that Hannah experienced but it took me a solid week to finish through the 13 episodes. I went through it as slowly as Clay did. I was triggered. I had to take breaks not in between episodes but in the middle of one. I also know people who finished it in one sitting. It depends on you. So please, if you haven’t watched it yet, don’t watch it because of the hype – because you wanted to be “in”. Watch it because you’re interested and take breaks, if you must. Your mental health is important. 🙂
In the book, I don’t remember being annoyed with Hannah. But in the series, I was. Maybe it was because I was in high school when the book was released. Hannah’s problems were more relatable. Now that I’m an “adult”, I tend to shrug it off WHICH IS STUPID. This is why teenagers don’t open up more. We overgrew the “immature” and “overacting” phase. They’re still in it. They’re just growing up and getting into relationship and are trying to figure it all out. We’re not helping by being all high and mighty.
And being “mature” adults, we resorted to another big thing… making memes. Yup. Good job, us. I like memes as much as the next person. They can be funny. But given the sensitivity of the show, aren’t we crossing the line by trivializing it?
Person 1: *does something small like step on your toes*
You: Welcome to your tape.
Like???? That’s not okay?? Please stick to the “unhelpful Yoda” memes. The welcome to your tape one is not funny. You’re missing the point. The show is spreading awareness about suicide, depression, rape, and NOT about being the subject of another pop culture joke. The “welcome to your tape” memes are mocking what Hannah went through. Not everything needs to be memed for it to be relevant, guys.
I also hate it when people go all, “You can’t be sad because others have it worse.” on Hannah. It’s basically dismissing Hannah as being an ungrateful, whiny high school student. It’s like saying I can’t be happy because someone has it better than me. Everyone handles things different. Just because you think you experienced things worst than Hannah does not mean you can sneer down on her for being “weak”. Get off your high horse.
OH! And one more thing. Please don’t make what Justin and Zach did seem small and okay because the actors are hot. Kindly separate the actors from the characters. In the same thought, please don’t leave angry comments for the actor playing Bryce. That is so not cool. Learn how to separate the personality from the persona!
Did I think what Hannah did is okay? I’m conflicted. I liked when she told Clay that he had hurt her feelings, but I’m not sure what to feel about the tapes. It set off a chain of reaction. You can see the differences on some of the characters as the series unfold. You can see the guilt on most of them, how there are different changes from episode one to the later episodes.
Do I want a season two? I want to, but I’m not sure if I need for it to be. I have a lot of unanswered questions regarding the characters, but I’ll be fine if the producers just tell us that Bryce was jailed and the Bakers won over the school. I’ll be okay with that.
If you made it this far into reading this, kudos to you. That’s more than 1780 words now. This is a thought dump. I’m not even sure if what I said made sense, but I just want to put my thoughts out regarding 13RW in paper – or in a word doc.
I’m always up for discussions. If you disagreed or agreed with some of the things I said, my comment box is open. If you don’t even want to watch the series, can you tell me why? I’m so curious.
(SPOILER ALERT.) But here’s a question I want to ask those who already watched the show… Duid you think Alex tried to kill himself or was it a foul play aka by Tyler?