Saturday, July 12, 2014

Book Review 11. Thirteen Reasons Why

Book: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 304
Published: October 18th, 2007

Summary: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“A lot of you cared, just not enough.” 

Before reading "Thirteen Reasons Why" (which was part of my marathon of books where I read a book a day), I had only read one book by Jay Asher. This book was a shocking depiction of a dead teenage girl sending recordings to all the people who pushed her to do what she did. Overall, I loved it and gobbled it up in an afternoon, waiting on edge to see exactly how Clay was woven in with this girl's messed-up life.

I had read the first two chapters last year at summer camp, but I never got around to making any real progress in the book because the camp ended shortly after I borrowed it, causing me to return this jem. And how glad am I that when I went to the library this morning it caught my eye on the shelf, almost as if it was screaming for me to pick it up and leaf through it. I remember seeing a review somewhere which summed it up perfectly; That you know the end picture, but not the pieces to the puzzle.

The one thing I'd like to say before I get to what I liked and didn't is that this book gets rather mixed reviews. When I skimmed the goodreads reviews, a few people said that this book didn't properly convey what it was like to be so depressed as to kill yourself, while others believed it to be fantastic. I side with the latter. There is not just one type of depression. Saying that a person couldn't be depressed in the light Hannah is just false. Like saying that someone couldn't be happy on a roller coaster just because the most common take is fear.

Some things I loved. . .
Hannah certainly had a level of morbid humor. You could often hear her sarcasm soaking through the tape when she wanted a remark to sting. She also mentioned many things, often in during the beginning of each tape.

"Now, why would a dead girl lie? Hey! That sounds kind of like a joke. Why would a dead girl lie? Answer: Because she can't stand up. . . Go ahead. Laugh. Oh well. I thought it was funny."
"Romeo, oh Romeo. Wherefore art thou, Romeo? . . . Good question Juliet. And I wish I knew the answer."

Those were just two of the little things she said when I skimmed through the book for quotes. I felt like it gave Hannah more depth, and made it seem as though she had really just given up on everything. Plus, it released a slight bit of tension (although obviously not for Clay).

The way Clay and Hannah's voices mixed with each others, hearing Hannah's voice and Clay's thoughts on her words, was great. Obviously not everything could be covered by Hannah, and Clay gave a nice perspective on life in their town. A+!

Some things I disliked. . .
I feel like it was completely Hannah's fault her life got so terrible. There were many times (especially once you got towards the end of the tapes) when she could of done something as simple as just saying "stop" and everything would have sucked a whole boatload less. If she just walked up to one of about a dozen people and said "Get the hell away from me," almost all the books problems could of been solved. I feel like very few people would actually let everything get as far as it did as often as it did. She could of saved herself at any moment, but she didn't. And I get that she was depressed, but not towards the beginning when she could of done it too! That was really the only flaw.

All in all, a great book.

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