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.