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Weekend Matinee: ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ on Netflix

Daniela Krausz | Contributing Writer

Netflix’s newest miniseries “Thirteen Reason’s Why,” based on the novel by Jay Asher, shattered expectations. Following the book’s premise, Hannah Baker records thirteen cassette tapes explaining what drove her to suicide and sends them to each person incorporated in her reasoning. Clay Jensen, a high schooler infatuated with Hannah, receives these mysterious tapes on his doorstep. The show follows him as he listens to Hannah Baker’s suicide note and attempts to process the traumatic tapes. The show, which ends in suicide, gets graphic (the last episode was so horrifying that I almost vomited) and sometimes gaudily intense.

“Thirteen Reasons Why” is indubitably more meaningful as a show than as a novel. There is a significant addition of more and deeper exploration of characters, which creates a more nuanced show; the viewer experiences the raw humanity behind each character’s motivation by seeing and feeling the community’s reaction while watching as Hannah’s parents grieve. The show also creatively criticizes social media’s overbearing presence more smoothly than the 2007 publication. In fact, it explores the effects of severe mental illness and modern teenage life more evocatively than the novel. So, while your typical Netflix shows might consist of lighter comedy fare, this darkly meaningful show will be a worthwhile investment into another genre.