Hey, y’all! This book review is going to be on “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher!
The first time I read this book was in high school. I decided to read it again, because it’s been getting a lot of attention lately. This is one of those books that I have mixed feelings about. First, here’s an overview –
Clay Jenson is a high school student who is surprised one day to find a mysterious package on his front porch. He’s even more surprised to find that the package contains a set of tapes that, when played, allows him to hear the voice of his dead classmate once again. The classmate is a girl named Hannah Baker. Hannah committed suicide, & the tapes list thirteen people who are responsible for the events that led up to her suicide. Clay spends the rest of the day, & night, listening to the tapes & trying to work through his feelings. He’s shocked to learn not only a few of Hannah’s secrets, but some of the secrets kept by people he has known for years.
Okay. Now, first let me say that I liked this book. Will I read it a third time? Probably not. But here’s why I like the book – It’s amazing how the author strings together all of these life events/circumstances to one person & their actions. You’ll be reading about something that happened, & you’ll wonder where this could possibly lead, & then later on in the story you’ll see how it led to another event. It shows that sometimes you have no idea how your actions will alter another person’s day, or even their life. I think this book would be important reading material to middle school or high school students. While reading it you come to understand Hannah, & feel for her & all that she goes through.
Now, here’s what I DIDN’T like about the book – Throughout the entire book, Hannah’s story is interrupted by Clay’s thoughts. Before I even got halfway through, I was thinking, “Could you please shut up so I can hear Hannah’s story?”. Also, it would be interrupted with the most mundane sentences. For example, “He stopped the tape. He got out of the car. He took a breath.” Okay. Thank you for the play-by-play. Next, remember how I said that it makes you think about how your actions will alter a person’s day or life? On the other side of that coin, this book makes it seem like we need to walk on eggshells all day every day, because we’re responsible for other people’s actions. I don’t agree with that. We should always be decent human beings, but at the same time, we can’t always control the way people interpret our actions. Hannah takes so many things way to close to heart. I understand that these things upset her, & lead to other things that change her life, but I feel like people put up with much worse & don’t kill themselves.. all the while blaming everyone else. Also, **SPOILER ALERT** the last person on the tapes is her guidance counselor, Mr. Porter. She basically blames him for letting her walk out of his office when he knew that something was wrong, but here’s the thing…. SHE DIDN’T EVEN REALLY GIVE HIM THE CHANCE TO TRY TO HELP HER. I mean, he’s an adult at her school, what is he suppose to do? Tie her down & force her to talk to him? Force her to tell her what’s wrong? Force her to tell him she’s thinking of killing herself? I mean, there’s only so much he can do when she refuses to let him in & refuses to tell him much of anything. Yet she finds it appropriate to blame him in her tapes for not trying to stop her. That’s not fair.
With all of that being said, I have to admit that I’m pretty surprised that this book is getting all of the attention that it’s getting. Is it a decent read? Yes. Is it one of the best books ever written? No. Like I said, this would be a nice read for a middle school or high school student, but other than that…. Meh lol. I would suggest that if you find the book for cheap somewhere, or someone offers to let you borrow it, & you haven’t read it yet…. Go for it! I think it’s a nice book for everyone to read once. Why not, right? Like I said, I have mixed feelings about this book lol. Anyway, I hope this helped at least a little bit if you were thinking of reading it. Have any of you read it? If so, what did YOU think? Let me know!
Until next time!