‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ isn’t really about suicide

Sarahbeth Caplin has some insights (spoiler alert) on “13 Reasons”.

Sarahbeth Caplin

Blue-Nails-Hannah-Baker-13-Reasons-WhyIn case the title isn’t obvious, this post contains spoilers.

I stayed up until 3am last night finishing Thirteen Reasons Why on Netflix. Knowing how different the show was from the book, I was prepared to be annoyed by it (which I was, more than once). Knowing what psychologists and counselors were saying about its treatment of teen suicide, I was prepared to hate it. I started writing commentary in my head, ready to tick off all the popular boxes: doesn’t mention anything about mental illness, glamorizes suicide, doesn’t offer any help for vulnerable teens who might be watching.

Only that last thing proved true: the least that the producers could have done was display the number of a suicide hotline at the end of each episode. But what I saw wasn’t a show about suicide, per se. The suicide was a driving plot point, sure, but it wasn’t the…

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