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13 Reasons Why: Is 13 Reasons Why based on real life? Author reveals inspiration


13 Reasons Why is a teen drama series on Netflix which follows the story of a number of students following the unexpected death of Hannah Baker (played by Katherine Langford). The series is set at Liberty High School, and Hannah’s friend Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) is given a set of seven tapes which explain why she took her own life. Fans are wondering whether the series is based on a true story, and Express.co.uk has everything you need to know.

Is 13 Reasons Why based on a true story?

13 Reasons Why is a critically acclaimed series which is known for tackling difficult themes such as sexual assault and suicide.

Hannah Baker’s friends are subjects on the tapes which explore social issues like bullying, racism, mental health and addiction.

The series is based on the novel of the same name by Jay Asher, which was published back in 2007.

13 Reasons Why has been praised for its approach to sensitive subject matter, and fans are keen to find out more about the inspiration behind the series.

The series itself is not based on one true story in particular, as it was inspired by the fictional characters from Asher’s book.

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However it does focus on some very real and very poignant themes – including homelessness, HIV, abortions and police brutality.

The most recent season, season four, focuses on Clay’s mental health which has deteriorated, and he goes to see a counsellor.

The new season also touches on violent conflict between police and students, as well as racial profiling.

There has been some criticism around the fourth season due to its depiction of topics including AIDS.

However the series overall has been praised for its performances from some of the main characters.

In an interview with Coming Soon, Asher reveals some of the situations that occur in his book are based on real-life events which have happened to him.

He said: “All of the reasons Hannah describes were based, at least loosely, on situations I’d either experienced or heard about, mostly from my wife or close female friends.

“While Hannah wasn’t specifically based on anyone, her character always felt very real. So it was a matter of interpreting those situations through her thoughts and feelings.”

He revealed to J-14.com that he had a female family member who attempted to take her own life at the same age as character Hannah Baker.

The use of video tapes in the series was inspired by an audio tour he took part in when he was about 20 years old.

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He did say the character of Clay Jensen was inspired by a real person in his life, as he hates confrontation.

The author said: “He’s very non-confrontational, even when confrontation is needed, which is something I’ve always struggled with.”

Fans have shown their support for the series on Twitter, with many saying it has helped them through bad times in their own lives.

They were hoping to see one last glimpse of Hannah in the last season, however she did not make an appearance in person.

Katherine Langsford, who played Hannah in the first couple of seasons, said she could not appear in the new season as it clashed with another series she was filming for.

Speaking to Digital Spy she said: “I think I was still filming Cursed, so I wasn’t able to go in and shoot anything.

“It’s funny because I haven’t fully seen season three or four – but I’m making my way through season three and watching season four now that that chapter’s closed.”

Producers used old footage from the first season to give her a role in season finale instead.

Actress and singer Selina Gomez has supported the series and in a video she said: “There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying you need help.”

A website called 13reasonswhy.info has been set up to provide support for people in crisis, and it includes a suicide prevention lifeline.

13 Reasons Why is available to watch on Netflix now


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