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Jumping on the Bandwagon

So, a couple of weeks ago, I jumped on the Thirteen Reasons Why bandwagon.

I’d read the YA book a few years ago and kept a couple of copies in my classroom.  The books are always being read by students.

I didn’t know about the Netflix series until a student told me about it.

Of course, I had to watch the first episode, and let me just say WOW.

It was powerful.

The book tells the story of a girl, Hannah Baker, who leaves a set of tapes for people to listen to after she commits suicide.  Each side of each tape is addressed to a specific person.  The catch is that every person must listen to all of the tapes or else a second copy, hidden away with another person, will release it to the public.

The tapes detail little and big things that led to Hannah’s suicide.

The book is told from Clay Jensen’s perspective after he receives the tapes.  He doesn’t know where on the list he falls, but it’s clear that he cared about Hannah.

The Netflix series, directed by Selena Gomez, takes a lot of creative license, and the story doesn’t follow the book exactly.

For a purist like me, it’s bothersome.

The series was also graphic in parts.  The foul language really bothered me (yes, it’s realistic, though…I do teach in a high school).  The drinking and drugs also bothered me a lot.  The sexual stuff…yeah, I didn’t feel comfortable watching that even by myself!!!

The message, bullying, hit home though.

My students are all watching the series.  Many have binged on it, much like I did.  It took me two weekends to watch all thirteen episodes.

I stayed up until nearly 2am last Friday night watching and only stopped when I hit Clay’s tape.

That episode wrecked me.

It’s so powerful…so gut-wrenching.

I decided, because I couldn’t put my hands on the copies I already owned, to purchase a couple more.

I kept one to re-read and put the other one in my room.

Yeah, it’s already been snatched up.  The kids cannot get enough of it.  I’m encouraging them to note the differences between the book and the series.

I am so glad that Netflix made this series.  It’s a story that needs to be told.

Over.

And over.

And over again.

Y’all, kids are really hurting these days.  It’s hard for many of them to see how one small comment can have devastating effects on another person.

This series is opening the door for real talk in my classroom.  I love that.

Hearing kids discuss it warms my heart.  I even heard some kids at my neighborhood pool talking about it last weekend.

Have you read the book or seen the series?  What are your thoughts?

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