Disclosure: I am a part of the Netflix #StreamTeam. As always, all opinions are my own.
It was a Friday night and I was just looking for something new to watch on Netflix. I never heard of 13 Reasons Why when I pressed play but within minutes I was hooked. I wanted to know Hannah’s story. It was an intense gut-wrenching binge watch.
I’m the kind of viewer who binges. If you are not, I would advise taking your time with this series. It’s a lot to process.
**If you plan on watching with your children/teens there’s a guide for parents available in English and Spanish: 13 Reasons Why: Talking Points for Viewing & Discussing**
I don’t have a teenager. And my son, Norrin, most likely will never have the same high school experience as the teens in 13 Reasons Why. At 11-years-old, he doesn’t have an understanding of what social media is.
I had many moments while watching where I was grateful for autism.
Also grateful social media did not exist when I was in high school.
After watching, I made my friend and 2 daughters watch it. The girls are 21 and 16 — so obviously, they know everything. We watched the first few episodes together. It definitely sparked a lot of conversation and questions. I kept pressing pause so that we could talk about our feelings and experiences.
While we didn’t all agree on some issues 13 Reasons Why focused on – we talked about them. It gave me insight into their world.
13 Reasons Why gave us the opportunity to talk about things, we would never talk about on a random Friday night visit.
13 Reasons tackled tough topics: underage drinking, peer-pressure, bullying, depression, sexuality, slut-shaming, suicide and rape. And it made me think about my own teenage experiences. I understand Hannah more than I would like to.
And the reality of all the teenage issues 13 Reasons focused on scare me. It’s no wonder why it scares so many parents.
“…it was the duality of these teenagers that struck a chord with me. They had one face they wore at home with their parents and a completely different one around their friends at school. When things started to happen, the parents were blindsided.” Denise, Pear Mama.
NOTE: 13 Reasons Why: Talking Points for Viewing & Discussing – available in English & Spanish.
13 Reasons Why is a serious drama that prompts deep discussions and disagreement. It gave me a lot to think about – as a mother, a viewer and a former teenage girl.
13 Thoughts I Had While Watching 13 Reasons Why
The music. The soundtrack is really good. It’s the kind of soundtrack that keeps the story going. There’s a lit bit of everything: vintage classics (The Cure), pop covers (“Only You” Selena Gomez) and indie hits — my favorite, “The Night We Met” by Lord Huron.
Mean girls. Jessica…Courtney… Why did they have to be so mean to Hannah? Are high school girls really that mean? Yes. Because then I remembered to Netflix documentary Audrie & Daisy. Audrie & Daisy is a documentary that deals with similar topics.
Alex. Hey – it’s the kid from Parenthood! And then it was, why couldn’t you just be honest with Hannah?
Are adults in the school system really that clueless? Looking at you Mrs. Bradley and Mr. Porter. It was disappointing to see Hannah’s attempts for help to go completely unnoticed. Also – I love that it’s Lane from Gilmore Girls playing Mrs. Bradley but I’m still side eyeing her.
Omg…Hannah’s mom. Kate Walsh’s (Mrs. Baker) performance is heartbreaking. I can’t tell you how many times I ended each episode ugly crying. I don’t know how any parent can survive such a tragedy.
Speaking of moms...Clay’s mom. Sigh. She means well but gah she takes helicopter mom to a whole new level. But I get it, she’s scared.
Why didn’t Clay just tell Hannah he liked her?! I mean, I know why but I still yelled this at the TV. A lot.
What is up with Tony and his brothers?
The diverse cast. I know, it’s random but it’s something I notice. Not sure how the characters are described in the book but it was nice to see different ethnicities portrayed. And that the ethnicities didn’t fall into stereotypes.
The tapes. I miss tapes. I should’ve never gotten rid of my cassette player. And I appreciated the use of the tapes. Yes – it’s very dark, haunting. In this new media obsessed world, the tapes were Hannah’s way of making people listen to her and her side of the story.
Justin. Justin. Justin. I really wanted to hate him.
Do high school kids really have all those tattoos? What is up with that? I don’t remember anyone having tattoos in high school. But just another reminder that my high school days were a long time ago.
Bryce. Effin Bryce. Everything that happened to Hannah begins and ends with him.
I hope that parents of tweens/teens watch 13 Reasons Why with them. I hope it prompts honest discussions. I hope that kids watching realize that kindness matters. How we treat people, matters. And I hope adults take the time to listen to what’s not being said.
“…while tv shows come with warning labels. While the pros debate about whether or not this show is glorifying suicide, whether parents of non-teenagers are sharing their insensitive comments on Facebook discussions. Just remember that none of that shit matters to kids who are hurting.” Xenia, Raised By Culture
According to The Jason Foundation
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for teens.
- More teens die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.
- Each day in the United States, over 5,240 teenagers attempt suicide.
- Four out of Five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs.
This guide (available for free on Kindle) equips you with 13 steps as suggested by counselors, therapists, and the National Suicide Hotline for how to engage teenagers in crisis: 13 Reasons Why Not: A Step-By-Step Guide to Helping Depressed & Suicidal Teenagers Kindle Edition