Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Star
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.
Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
A word of warning before I write this review. I have intensely negative views on suicide that will offend people and I am sure they are going to seep out in this review because its the whole plot to the book. So if you know don’t like people looking down upon those who have killed themselves, move on. We do not need to have a fight about it, the review is not worth it. If you can handle someone doing this though, read on. You have been warned.
I was greatly surprised by just how much I liked this book. I had heard great things from a few people in the book world but I was a bit iffy about it because of the reasons stated above. But I actually found it quite moving.
We start off the book with Clay receiving a package full of cassette tapes from Hanna Baker, a girl who killed herself the week before. It states the thirteen reasons and events why she killed herself, and the only reason you would be hearing the tapes are if you are one of those. I was a bit confused about the whole thing to begin with the voice and the person talking at the beginning of these tapes just seemed so strong to me. I thought This person killed herself? But she is so fired up! You could tell she really wanted to stick it to all the people who she accounts for why she chose to die. But as you go through the tapes, she looses some of that fire and by the end I was thinking There is that weakness I was looking for. I suppose that was well done. With each event she got more worn down and became weaker and weaker till she just gave up.
For example, at the beginning of the tapes Hannah is unable to say the word suicide during the tapes when talking about her plans, but by the end of them she is freely saying it with ease.
The people in her life are just disgusting. If I was surrounded by such horrible people that turn their back or do some of those thing to me the way they did to her I might be seriously depressed too. The only person in the whole book though that I felt sorry for was Clay. Not Hannah though I did at the beginning but that wore off quickly. Clay is such a sweety and having to listen to these tapes was just so hard for him. It got some closure to, but I think he just felt so hurt by the whole thing. Having to listen to her say that she didn’t have anyone on her side and no one would help her and listen to stories that the end about her putting herself in situations that would make her want to kill herself, knowing full well that they would not end well. I agreed with everything Clay was saying to himself at the end. You did not ask for help, Hannah. You sent him away when he was there. You always have another option. Poor, poor Clay.
All that being said though he is guilty of being one of the stupid people at times and he should have tried harder to be there for her because then she might have actually asked him for help. He was too scared to get close until she was already too far gone. I don’t mean he should have seen the signs, I just mean that he shouldn’t have let the opinions of others get in his way for something he really really wanted, such as Hannah.
While I don’t look upon people who commit suicide… fondly, I can understand to an extent I suppose. Things spiral and even the small things become big and depressing and life shattering. I believe though that people should be able to see this happening ans slam on the breaks and slow things down or call out for help. To more than one person. If they can’t though, I think this book is a very good telling of how these things can happen. The story was very well written and really amazingly presented and best of all realistic.
I would recommend this book to anyone who maybe wants a little bit of insight on the topic and how things can realistically happen. If you expect people to need huge reasons to die I would stay away, this is a story about more little things and you may not like it like I did. It is a short read though so it might be worth it. I will probably even pick it up again at some point.
Till Next Time…