I had read the book a year before the series aired on Netflix. 13 Reasons Why had made an impression on me then but didn’t elicit the strong feelings that I have about it now after having watched all 13 episodes. The one question I had was “Where’s Hannah’s Tape?” If not a tape at least a post script of some sort.
The idea of a a suicide note left as cassette tapes already lures you into the story. Your curiosity is peaked and you wonder just what are on those tapes. Each episode shows you what each tape reveals and I hate to say it but I think of each tape as a finger pointed or assigned blame to a particular person that had done Hannah wrong.
So what’s wrong with that? Let me share just why that’s wrong and why Hannah should have included herself in those tapes. It might have been 14 Reasons Why… not as attractive but would have at least had her showing the ability to take some responsibility for her actions.
Where’s Hannah’s Tape???
Many people endure tough times, heartbreak, and assault without taking their own lives. To assign blame and make a map of sorts leading up to her suicide was just cowardly for me. I admit, others people’s actions can lead us to feel bad about ourselves and some to depression but to identify particular instances that seemed to add to her reasons to commit her suicide is just not right.
In all those instances she could have changed the outcome as well. Now before you start attacking me about not knowing how it feels to be the outsider or loner I was just that in high school. I wasn’t raped but I have a very similar experience and as you can see I didn’t take that situation and think to myself this person is going to be my reason to end my life. I felt a need to strive and overcome my trauma. I didn’t have many friends in high school. You can count on one hand how many friends I had all throughout high school. If I made my own tapes I assure you I could fill just as many tapes as her.
I think what bothers me most about this series is that instead of getting the youth of today to appreciate what they do have, our young people already seeking instant gratification when they can will just find an easy way out. Hannah had parents that took care of her and provided for her. She is smart and talented. She’s pretty and confident.
She leaves no note for her parents by the way. When she lost the money it hurt to watch and know that the reaction her parents had contributed to her decision. We have to live with disappointment sometimes. Disappointment from others, the disappointment we give to others and the disappointment in ourselves.
So why am I so bothered? This series has made an impact and depending on who you talk to can be a negative or positive one. As a parent being in my 30’s, my experience in life and way of thinking goes beyond because I’ve been able to prove to myself that I can surpass my problems. You know, it was difficult for me to build my confidence especially since I had so many people tearing me down when I was younger. A father who left, a boyfriend beyond my years, and being different because I grew up in another country and didn’t speak Tagalog did not make my life easy.
Yet, here I am today with 3 beautiful kids and I’m independent, confident and self sufficient. If the young people of today think to take an extreme measure to rid themselves of their problems how can they feel achievement, build confidence and glow with pride?
My teens watched the series and at first I didn’t feel the need to discuss it with them because I’ve brought them up to be thinkers, decision makers and to be open minded. However, they are still teens and despite being close to both of them I can never fully know what’s on their minds. So I had this exact discussion with them. I was relieved to learn that they liked the show and the actors but they didn’t identify at all with the characters. They have also persevered in their own lives so far overcoming being bullied and trying to cope with the circumstances our family has found itself in.
I hope this just opens up an idea to the possibility that our actions aren’t dictated by others but by our selves. We have the power to change our circumstances. Parents, if you haven’t watched it already I think you should especially if your kids have watched it. Sit down with them and talk about it.
I hear there’s a second season of 13 Reasons Why. Maybe there’s another tape we don’t know about. Hopefully, the next season (if there is one) focuses on accountability as well.