December 22, 2009

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Date Started: December 22, 2009
Date Finished: December 22, 2009 

Summary: Hannah Baker committed suicide two weeks ago and has sent out thirteen tapes to those who played a role in her death. One of them is Clay Jensen, who loved Hannah from afar, but never had the chance to tell her so. As he is listening to Hannah's tapes from beyond the grave, he learns secrets about people and secrets about events that lead to Hannah's untimely death.

Likes: Holy crap. My mind was racing with all kinds of thoughts and situations that could be going on. I kept thinking that Clay was the reason, that he did some type of awful thing to her like rape or something else. I set out only to read a few pages, but I was hooked. It's a haunting glimpse about what might go through someone's head as they plot their own death. A part of me was thinking that Hannah was selfish for blaming everyone else, then you read further down and you feel sorry for her because she saw death as the only escape for her life. Then you get mad because she had opportunities to reach out and didn't take them. Then you get sad because other people had the change to help but didn't. I like that this story always keeps you guessing and wondering what drove this girl her death. At first all the pieces don't add up and like most great novels, the pieces come together in the end. The ending isn't satisfying, but it's a start as a way that Clay makes amends for his role in Hannah's death. The weaving of the tapes narratives and Clay's narratives were an interesting story telling hook that sets it apart from other novels about suicide.

Dislikes: I don't think there was too much I didn't like. In my mind, I keep wondering do high school students really do things like that. I was a nerd, so I stayed clear of it. Obviously they do happen (when you read the novel you'll see what I mean). It seems that each generations kids are growing up faster and younger. It's a little bit scary.

Overall: This story like many of the other stories that I've read this year makes you think, wow, could something I have done in the past affect someone's future? Like a simple act of kindness or a rude remark. It really really makes you think about events that take place and how life may have been different had they not taken place or if you yourself would have reacted differently. It makes you want to treat everyone with at least an ounce of dignity because you can never honestly know what is going on in the lives of others. 


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