The popular Netflix series called “Thirteen Reasons Why” is based on a book that came out several years ago with the same title. Directed by Selena Gomez, the show follows the book fairly closely as it depicts a girl named Hannah Baker, and the struggles she went through before committing suicide. I was a freshman in high school when I read this book, and I still remember it vividly.
Following a string of suicides, a Colorado school district has made the decision to pull the book from their library circulation. This is because some critics claim the book and show romanticize and glorify suicide. I think it is quite the opposite though. In fact, the series is brings more of an awareness to suicide and shows a real, behind the scenes type look at what could lead a person to it, and ultimately what you can do to try to prevent it. It does not dress up suicide to make it look inviting.
The order rankled some librarians who called it censorship, and it appears to be a rare instance in which the book has been removed from circulation – albeit briefly.
It also has highlighted the debate about balancing freedom of speech with concerns about students.
“It would be hard for anybody who has dealt with suicide to not have a heightened awareness of things, to perhaps be a little more cautious about things,” said Leigh Grasso, the curriculum director for the 22,000-student Mesa County Valley School District who decided to pull the book.
The bestselling young adult novel, published in 2007, follows a high school girl who kills herself after creating a series of tapes for her classmates to play after her death. She gave the tapes to people who influenced her decision.
Grasso said the book was made available again after librarians and school counselors determined it did not include scenes as graphic as those depicted in the Netflix series.
“I think we were just being cautious until we had the opportunity to look at the book and see how closely related to the movie it was,” she told The Associated Press.
Jay Asher, the author of the book was unapologetic and stated, “Over and over, readers describe ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ as the first time they felt understood. Recognizing that people will understand is the first step toward asking for help.”
James LaRue, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association, stated “Sometimes the world is a dangerous place, but reading about it isn’t” I couldn’t agree with him more.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com