"13 Reasons Why" Author Faces Twin Cities Critics

May 06, 2017 10:34 PM

The author of the book, "13 Reasons Why," defended his work and the recently released Netflix series over the weekend in Minnesota.

Jay Asher was the featured speaker at the Twin Cities Teen Lit Con event, held Saturday at Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights.


The book and series focuses on a young woman who kills herself and leaves 13 tapes behind, calling out the people she blames for her suicide.

The Netflix series put parents and schools districts in Minnesota on high alert. Many schools sent letters home to parents telling them about the series and some even outlined issues with the plot.

RELATED: School Districts Addressing Popular Netflix Series About Suicide

Asher fielded dozens of questions from teens during his presentation. Many asked what he thinks of the criticism that his work "glorifies suicide."

During an interview with reporters, Asher said he disagrees with that viewpoint.

"You're dealing with a subject that people are just very uncomfortable talking about," Asher said. "But I guarantee there's nothing in that show or the book that hasn't happened to teens."

Asher said he's read dozens of letters that school districts sent to parents about the series and he praised ones that encourage parents to talk to their kids about what they're watching.

"The ones that bother me are when they come out and say don't watch it because you know, I hear daily from people that say the show or the book saved their life," Asher said. "Every scene in the book that someone has contacted me about and said they had a problem with or that they thought was irresponsible, I've had dozens of people say that is the scene they connected with."


Kirsten Swanson

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