The Importance Of Netflix's Adaptation Of 13 Reasons Why

The Importance Of Netflix's Adaptation Of 13 Reasons Why

Media can be more helpful than people realize.

The literary world was taken by storm in 2007 when Jay Asher's debut novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, hit bookshelves. This novel captivated audiences with its true-to-life story about a teenage girl, Hannah Baker, who commits suicide. Rather than letting her story die with her, she records it on cassette tapes and sends them in a box to people who impacted her decision. The novel follows her classmate Clay Jenkins on the night he receives and listens to the tapes- a night that will change his life forever.

For years, there has been speculation of a movie adaptation. Rumors began flying almost immediately that Selena Gomez would be attached to the project in some way. Fans of the novel would search the Internet every once in a while for more movie news, but to no avail. No more information was released about a movie, giving fans the impression that an adaptation just wasn't in the cards.

Hope was restored on October 29, when Variety announced that Netflix is adapting Thirteen Reasons Why as a 13-episode series. Selena Gomez is set to be Executive Producer of the project, along with Mandy Teefey and Kristel Laiblin. The writing team is set to include Brian Yorkey, who found success penning the rock musical "Next to Normal."

No word has been released on who is set to star in the series, or when it will launch. But that does not stop the excitement from building.

The fact that Thirteen Reasons Why will be adapted to the small screen can do great things for the public. Despite the fact that the novel has been on the New York Times Bestseller's List consistently for the past eight years, it's not a very well-known story. It's a shame, because it's a story that needs to be shared and talked about. People tend to shy away from discussions of mental health, depression, and suicide. They operate under the philosophy that if these topics are never discussed, then they'll disappear. They won't be a problem anymore.

Newsflash: it does not work like that. In fact, it's the opposite. The more the world pretends that these issues don't exist, the worse they'll get. If these issues are treated by society as things that are shameful and need to be hidden, then it makes it that much harder for someone to seek treatment if they start feeling depressed (or show symptoms of any other mental illness.)

Fortunately, Netflix is one of the most popular services of our time. People are always looking for another new show to binge-watch on the weekends. With an adaptation of Thirteen Reasons Why being added to Netflix, it'll bring to light the issues of depression and suicide, especially in teenagers. There won't be such a stigma, and it might just give someone the courage to speak up and get the help they need.

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Popular Right Now

An Open Letter to the Girl who is Learning to be Loved; Again.

And just like snow...she was beautiful as she fell.

You are worth the effort.

You are loved.

Learning what it's like to be loved again is probably the hardest thing that anyone could ask of you. But all of the moments where you feel unwanted, broken, tattered and worn, they are all leading up to the day to where someone will look you in the eye, say the words "I do", and mean it with every ounce of their existence. 

Many of us know the feeling too well. The feeling where you hold on to something that isn't there for so long that you forget what it feels like to love and to be loved. Don't give up hope. Every day that passes is a day that you can prove to yourself of just how strong you are. Don't lose faith. 

After we get our heart broke, we convince ourselves that we aren't good enough for anyone so we, at some point or the other, give up. Don't lose faith in the fact that you are meant to be in this world and to be loved by someone. We more often than not, give all and receive little to the person who didn't deserve our love in the first place. But, if you want to learn to be loved again, you must allow yourself the respect to know who and what you deserve. Never settle for less. 

To the girl who is learning what it's like to be loved again, just hold on. In order to be loved again, it'll take time. And no one ever said it was going to be easy. But i promise you that one day, you'll find someone who accepts the hardships and is willing to show your worth. 

Until that day comes, hold on. Don't forget that it's okay to fall in love again. 


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Bernard DeVoto: America's Forgotten Historian

Re-examining the great historian of the west

Today the reading of History is at peak popularity with the public. Bestsellers like David McCullough’s “John Adams” and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals” have taken the bookstores by storm. History is now both accessible and popular to the general reader, thanks to the prolific writings of scholars like Evan Thomas or Douglas G. Brinkley.

Our purpose here is not to dissect the merits of “Popular History” – a controversial topic itself – but to examine the legacy of a once popular writer now largely forgotten by the general public.

Bernard DeVoto was born in Ogden, Utah in 1897, the son of an Italian father and a lapsed Mormon mother. Raised in the isolated, sparsely populated regions of the American West, he stood out from an early age for his keen intellect and voracious reading. A child of religious skeptics, he stood out from his peers as a loner, a freethinker, and a budding intellectual.

After a short time at the University of Utah – which he left following the firing of some unorthodox professors – DeVoto enrolled at Harvard, where he pursued the study of his twin passions, history, and literature. Eschewing the fashionable study of European or diplomatic history, DeVoto chose to specialize in the west, a region with which he had a complex relationship.

Though he had little love for his hometown and its rural parochialism, the historian possessed an abiding love for the west – its history, its people, and its wide open spaces.

After a short stint as a teacher – during which time he experienced one of his periodic bouts of depression – DeVoto recovered his fortunes and secured a position at Northwestern, where he met and married his wife, Avis.

At Northwestern DeVoto’s rising star shone brightly. His sparkling prose and outspoken liberalism earned him a place as a popular essayist, allowing him entry into the exciting literary world of the 1920’s. DeVoto’s early novels — he had not yet begun to write history — gained him respect as a writer and in 1927 he obtained a position at Harvard.

Here, the historian’s western background and blunt-spoken nature began to work against him. Though he coveted Harvard tenure, he never attained a permanent professorship, remaining an outsider in the university’s waspish environment.

But his fame as a writer grew steadily. His 1932 biography “Mark Twain’s America” established him as an authority on the great novelist, and soon led to a monthly column for Harper’s Magazine.

In the meantime, Devoto prospered as a literary critic. He briefly ran New York’s “Saturday Review of Literature” and gained notoriety as a perceptive, if acerbic, judge of novels. He feuded with Thomas Wolfe and Sinclair Lewis; the latter penned an essay entitled “Fools, Liars, and Mr. DeVoto.”

Yet, DeVoto’s contrarian nature worked to his advantage. Manic productivity and pugnacious wit characterized his elegant, fast-moving prose style. Having largely given up the pursuit of fiction, DeVoto now turned to his first and deepest passion – the writing of history.

“1846: The Year of Decision” was the first volume of DeVoto’s great western trilogy. The other volumes – “The Course of Empire” and “Across the Wide Missouri” – followed shortly, and together constitute DeVoto’s single largest contribution to history. “1846” is a narrative history of the soldiers, pioneers, and mountain men who traveled west on the eve of the Mexican war, forming the spearhead of Manifest Destiny; “Across the Wide Missouri” is an engaging history of the fur trade, the West's first great business; and “The Course of Empire” is a sprawling history of exploration from the Vikings to the American West.

DeVoto’s other works – including a classic edition of the Lewis and Clark journals and a quixotic study of cocktails, “The Hour” – date from this productive period.

DeVoto was more than just an author. From the 1940’s onward he became a prominent voice for conservationism, civil liberties, and other progressive causes. At Harvard, he mentored the rising undergraduate Arthur Schlesinger Jr., imbibed dedicated to American history, liberal politics, and well-crafted prose.

Unlike most modern historians, DeVoto did not cater exclusively to the academic community or the general public. Rather, he sought to reach both average readers and the academy, combining lively writing with serious academic research.

DeVoto’s productivity was fortunate, for his career was sadly short. Stricken by a heart attack in 1955, he died suddenly at age 58. He left behind reams of novels and histories, an unfinished work of western ecology, and scores of diverse essays. His influence on historical writers – from Arthur Schlesinger to Wallace Stegner – was enormous, and he remains regarded as one of the foremost historians of the west. Rarely has another scholar written so much, about so much, in such a tragically short time.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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