School starts on Monday for me (the kids have been back almost a week now) and I’ve been trying to catch up on my reading. Unlike the last book I reviewed, I’m not sure where I got this one. Which is odd. I thought I got it in a box of books from my boyfriend for a yard sale that I had a year or so ago, but he informed me that he didn’t give it to me, and in fact, had just bought a copy to read himself, which is why I decided to finally pick this one up and read it.
The book: “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher.
I hesitated to read this book at first. The subject matter isn’t usually my first chose in fun reading, but I started reading it a while ago and when my boyfriend bought a copy I decided that it was time to read. And once I started reading I couldn’t stop. Mainly, I had to find out why.
As the title suggests, this book is about thirteen reasons. Thirteen reasons why a girl, young woman, high school student, ended her life.
The book starts at the end, like many books do, with us knowing the end before we know the beginning. And it pulls you in. We know that he has to do something, is compelled to send a box of cassette tapes to someone…someone we don’t know.
And then we get the story. A girl at school has killed herself and the tapes are the story of why. And Clay, the narrator of the book, is one of those reasons. We follow him as he listens to the tapes wandering around town following Hannah in her last days of life as she talks about how she ended up taking her life. Her pain comes through in the narration. In the stories she tells.
Its not something talked about much, teen suicide, but this book brings sit to light in a way that I don’t know has been done before. It shows how the actions, or in-actions, of people can be woven together an the effect that they can have. This is the story of how a rumor can ruin a life.
When reading this book I felt the same as Clay in most spot. I wanted to reach through the book, through time, and save Hannah. I wanted to make her see that things were not hopeless. I wanted to make her pain go away. But I couldn’t, it was too late. And it made me think. How could it have gone different, how could it have ended better.
It made me want to be better. Not to spread idol rumors. To say “hi” to people when I pass them in the hall. And to try to be a better person, no matter what. I suggest this book. Not because it will make you smile, or because it has a happy ending, but because it’s hard to read. Because it needs to be read. And because we could all learn from what Hannah has to say.