Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thirteen Reasons Why

by Jay Asher

At first, Clay is excited when he finds a package addressed to him on his doorstep, but he soon realizes that he might not actually want to listen to the tapes he's been given. The tapes come from Hannah Baker, a girl who killed herself several weeks previously. On the tapes she lists thirteen people and what they did that helped lead her to the decision to take her own life.

** This is more of a discussion than a review, so you probably don't want to read it if you haven't read the book. There aren't really any spoilers, but it probably won't make a ton of sense **

I'm not sure what to say about this book. While reading it, I couldn't stop. I wanted to know what was going to happen next, and specifically what it was that Clay had done to Hannah.

However, at the same time I didn't really like the book. It's heavy. It covers a lot of topics: bullying, rape, and suicide and while it's all done well, it was hard to read. I also couldn't really get over the tapes themselves. Most of the events mentioned are small. I can appreciate that as a teenager life seems much harder than it actually is, and therefore even the smallest thing can feel like an enormous mountain, but would you really want to cause the level of guilt that these tapes are going to cause?

I also felt real bad for her teacher/counselor that she hopes would rot in hell. I won't deny that he could have handled their meeting better, but I don't think he should be blamed for her decision. Especially since she had made so many of the preparations for her suicide before hand. Did she really want his help?

I wish we could have seen more of Hannah's past as a way to explain why she might have been more susceptible to spiraling out of control than her classmates. Not everyone who has a false rumor spread about them will kill themselves, and one should definitely not kill oneself for such a reason (I do realize that it was the combination of events that led to the suicide, not just the rumor that started everything). I also thought that something should have been added at the end for people considering suicide. The number for the suicide hotline is listed just under the author's biography, but if you don't read those you'll miss it.

I'm not sure if I would recommend this one. It's an interesting read. I thought it was well done, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since finishing it nearly a week ago. But, it's hard and left me with a lot more questions than answers.


Laura H said...

Yeah.. I think I'm going to skip this one. Sounds depressing and I am a reading a very funny book. (Diary of a wimpy kid #2). I have been in a funk lately with books. I think I need some light reading.

KT said...

This one is definitely not light reading (or funny). I hope you like Diary of a Wimpy kid - I think they are all hilarious!

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I am so reading this book within the next month! Seems like an interesting one for sure.