Full disclosure – this series is full on. It’s confronting, it’s harrowing and it’s an incredibly sad portrayal of teenage bullying so bad that it depicts the suicide of the main character. This series is NOT one to let your ~12 year old children watch unsupervised.
Hannah Baker is your average teen but she is bullied to the point of suicide. Prior to her death she recorded a series of cassette tapes confronting each of the people who betrayed her in some way. At the start of the series (Tape 1, Side A) Clay Jensen (a quiet and unassuming fellow student and a secret crush of Hannah’s) has just received the shoe box full of tapes. We watch as Clay listens and reacts to each of the tapes. Hannah’s instructions are for each of her betrayers to listen to the tapes and pass them onto the next person. As number 11 (of 13) Clay can’t accept her wishes knowing the torment she suffered and takes action with the hope of seeking justice for Hannah.
I had a very emotional response to the series. I couldn’t watch the suicide scene itself so I looked away but listening to it was bad enough. I didn’t enjoy the series per se, but I’m glad I’ve seen it. As a mum of young girls, its crystallised the type of open and communicative relationship I want to have with them as they get older. It’s well worth a watch but be prepared to feel very uncomfortable.