13 Reasons Why: A Review

Movie Reviews, Uncategorized

This isn’t really going to be a review; my title lied. It is part review, part rant…

13 Reasons Why: A Rant

I recently (binge) watched 13 Reasons Why on Netflix this past week. To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations because all of the promos made it look like another stupid teen drama. I was only slightly tempted since I had read the book in high school, but if Cassandra hadn’t started it with me, I probably wouldn’t have watched it for a long time, if ever. After a few episodes, I was hooked. Mostly because of nostalgia– I really loved the book when I was younger.

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This show is probably one of the only instances in my life where the book just didn’t measure up to the show. Now, I have not read the book since high school, so I could be wrong, but the show was just so much more nuanced. There are a lot of changes from the book, but it made the whole thing so much more connected and intense. Plus, the acting was incredible. Watching the show was truly an experience and I can’t wait to watch it again.

I wasn’t originally going to do a review, because the show had been given so much praise already that there wasn’t anything I felt I could add to the conversation. But recently on Facebook, I’ve seen a lot of posts talking negatively about the show because of how graphic and “triggering” it was. So since I am passive-aggressive af, I’ve decided to throw in my 2 cents, plus I really loved the show.

I will be discussing generalized plot points, so if you have not finished and do not want any light spoilers, click away.

In the Facebook post that started this whole blog post, it was basically saying that the entire show needed a warning because the whole show was graphic and insensitive to people who have gone through similar experiences.

First of all, putting a warning on the whole show, telling exactly what is going to go down throughout the entirety of it is (for lack of a better word) stupid. Who would watch a show, knowing exactly what is going to happen? Also, everyone has been talking about this show, everyone knows the premise. So, if you know that you are sensitive to suicide or bullying, then don’t watch a show about suicide and bullying.

Another point that was made in a different Facebook post was that 13 Reasons Why was glorifying and romanticizing suicide. This one was coming from someone who hadn’t even watched the show, and yet they felt entitled to write a whole novel on her Facebook about it. This show, in no way, makes suicide look enticing. If anything, it shows the raw, painful, frightening, and depressing truth of taking your own life.

I don’t think there is anyone out there who read the book or watched the show and then thought, Wow, I could really go for a nice suicide right about now. I was more inclined to buy a tape recorder and tell all the assholes I knew how much of an asshole they were than to take my life. In the final episode when we actually see Hannah commit suicide, it was the darkest thing I’d ever seen in my life. I kept expecting the camera to cut away, but it didn’t. It stayed with her until she died. I stayed with her until she died.

I can’t say that I’ve never thought about killing myself, but it was more like “If I was dead right now, I wouldn’t have to go through this shit” than actual self-hatred and loneliness. But watching that scene was like a sharp slap in the face, waking me up. We always hear about people who kill themselves, but seeing it happen and it’s direct affect around everyone around them is unnerving.

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This show is supposed to make you uncomfortable. You are supposed to feel sick to your stomach. You are supposed to want to look away but fail. Yes, this show is graphic and “triggering” but that is because it needs to be. People aren’t going to talk about it if it isn’t right in their face. That is why the book was so important when it came out 10 years ago. It was all anyone talked about in the hallways at school, and now it is all anyone can post about online. It opens discussion, which in turn instills change.

Thank you for reading!

 

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Luckiest Girl Alive: A Review

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

I haven’t been doing so well with my resolution to read more. Since January, I’ve only read two books. This past week, I read Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll, and it is so beautiful. I can already tell that it will be one of those books that you pick up year after year to read again.

I first heard of this book through a weekly newsletter that I am subscribed to. For those who don’t know, I am OBSESSED with Lena Dunham (blog post to come, I’m sure). She and one of the producers of Girls, Jenni Konner, started an online newsletter called Lenny Letter. Knoll wrote a piece in one of the issues a year ago today about her book. In the Lenny Letter, Knoll talked openly about how her personal experience with sexual assault led to the idea of her novel (you can read her piece here). She was so open and raw in her piece that, without even knowing anything else about her book, I had to read it. And on one fine day, I found myself once again strolling the aisles of Target when a familiar book cover caught my eye. I’m so glad it did, because I instantly fell in love.

The novel follows the soon-to-be Ani Harrison (formerly TifAni FaNelli), who strives to recreate herself in an attempt to alter people’s perception of who she was. She is a senior editor at The Women’s Magazine which is most comparable to our Cosmopolitan, and is engaged to the attractive, blue-blooded Luke Harrison. It would appear as though she has the perfect life, but very quickly you can tell that there is something unnerving about her. Throughout most of the novel, the reader is left in the dark about Ani’s past, but through small glimpses and memories, we slowly begin to understand the dark and twisted person that we’ve been unapologetically subjected to. Knoll creates a very realistic mindset that we get to experience throughout the entirety of the book.

Personally, I felt an instant (yet frightening) connection with Ani because her internal monologue mirrored my own in a dark way. Perhaps it is just a testament to Knoll’s writing that her readers can understand her character so well, or perhaps I should seek professional help. Either way, I definitely miss Ani’s quick wit and dark humor.

It is beautiful, inspiring, and suspenseful. I have told all (two) of my friends about this novel, and now I urge all of you to do the same.