Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Published: October 18th 2007 by Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction, Mystery
When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.”
The best way to describe this book is like an onion. You peel away layers to get to the inside. And each layer stings your eyes a little more.
The book opens to Clay returning home from school and finding a package with his name on it by the door. Inside are 7 cassette tapes (yes! cassette tapes! outdated even in the book!) and instructions to play them. Sent from Hannah – who committed suicide a few weeks prior.
The premise alone sparks the curious-can’t-look-away-from-it-car-crash scenario. Let’s face it, it’s psychology and were all curious and clueless when it comes to death. That’s what makes us want to look closer.
The book has gotten mixed reviews and I understand why. You either get it, or you don’t. You either sink into to it and allow yourself to go on this journey, or you’re not really feeling it. I don’t think theres anything in between. If you write if off as teenage drama and you can’t be bothered, then you’re gonna miss all the good stuff.
“You can’t go back to how things were. How you thought they were. All you really have is…now.”
If you let yourself get sucked into Hannah’s world, theres many things to explore. How we treat each other, how heavy our words can weigh, how meaning can change from one person to another and how we react to the things that we feel. Some topics are typical high school drama which in the moment feels very significant, and other topics are universally large. I’m pretty sure the book contains every single emotion known to man and that everyone can relate to parts of the book. But that’s a treasure hunt I’ll let you take on your own.
Now I can’t wait for the series to drop on Netflix on March 31st.
If you like trailers you can check it out here:
As far as this book and the Netflix series goes for entertainment purposes, suicide is a serious topic and I do not take it lightly. I do however, feel that it shouldn’t be mystified, swept under the rug or taboo to talk about, dramatize or shine a light at. Depression is a real thing, and it comes in many forms. It is capable of showing itself in a million different ways and also hiding in plain sight.
A friend of mine was once asked if she had ever considered suicide to which I think she bravely responded: “I don’t want to answer this, because if I say yes I’ll be labeled as suicidal and if I say no I’ll come off as if I’ve never been a teenager.”
I think we need endless media on sensitive topics like this. We need to talk about it, not hide it. We need to be aware and not ignorant. We need to be able to read signs the people around us are sending out when they are hurting. And we need to be reminded that an act of kindness, no matter how small, can go a long way. And we have to know, that our words and our actions can hurt and be more aware of ourselves to avoid hurting others. This book is a reminder of that, and that makes it pretty awesome in my opinion.