Wednesday 27 March 2019

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

Hardcover, 10th Anniversary Edition, 352 pages
Published December 27th 2016 by Razorbill (first published October 18th 2007)

Terri's Thoughts

Well, I finally read this book, I'm probably the last person to do so but I did it.  I knew what it was about and the general gist of things but have not read a single review or been involved in any conversations or discussions about it.  How did it make me feel?


Really. I literally just put it down and I am so conflicted with my thoughts at the moment I don't even know what to say.  I wont even know what I am going to rate it until I get to the end of this review  And then I reserve the right to go back and change it.

I will try to break it down.

The story had its flaws.  In all honesty the writing was nothing special.  I didn't find it poignant or lyrical or any of those other words you find in pretentious reviews.  It got the job done.  People may jump all over me, but I found Hannah to be too angry to be so lost.  Some of her reasons even seemed a little bit petty, more like people didn't live up to her expectations were not allowed to be flawed.  I would think that someone with that much anger, who would take the time to make the tapes, would have enough fight in her to keep going....

Wait a second, what am I doing?  Did I just victim shame??? I think I might have...

And ladies and Gentleman, this is the reason, IMHO, that people should read this story.  People should be discussing this book.  The content of this story is something everyone should be discussing.  In fact, this book should be included in every school curriculum just so that everyone has the opportunity to sit and discuss it.  WHY?  It is simple.  I went through every reaction possible while reading this, both good and bad.   I rooted for Hannah, I didn't root for her, I felt she overreacted & I felt empathy for her situation.  At the end of the day, with everything going on in our world, this is one of the topics that young people should be talking about.  Suicide (as well as bullying & mental health as these are underlying themes and linked to the subject at hand) should not be an off limit topic.  Even bringing to the table that your actions impact others in big or small ways.  An open and honest discussion should be held about these things.  I don't even think it is something that should be addressed from parent to child (although I don't discourage it).  It should be something peers speak about to each other, openly, and without censor.

And so...I will rate this book on that as I found the actual book just ok

About the Author

Jay Asher was born in Arcadia, California on September 30, 1975. He grew up in a family that encouraged all of his interests, from playing the guitar to his writing. He attended Cuesta College right after graduating from high school. It was here where he wrote his first two children’s books for a class called Children’s Literature Appreciation. At this point in his life, he had decided he wanted to become an elementary school teacher. He then transferred to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo where he left his senior year in order to pursue his career as a serious writer. Throughout his life he worked in various establishments, including as a salesman in a shoe store and in libraries and bookstores. Many of his work experiences had an impact on some aspect of his writing.

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