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 to find a strange package with his name on it. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and first love – who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
Hannah's voice explains there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why.
All through the night, Clay keeps listening – and what he discovers changes his life... forever. From Goodreads
People have raved about Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher throughout the whole time I've been blogging, but I had never read it. I always thought it sounded awesome, but for one reason or another, I didn't buy it until recently. And now I so wish I had read it sooner.
Clay comes home from school to find a package for him on his doorstep. It's full of casette tapes, but no message. When he starts listening to them, he discovers they're from Hannah Baker - who committed suicide two weeks ago. The tapes chronicle the thirteen reasons - the thirteen people - that caused her to take her own life. Clay is one of them. And now Hannah is going to tell him exactly how he affected her life.
This book is extremely powerful, and incredibly moving. It's told in a dual narrative, what Hannah has recorded interspersed with Clay's thoughts and actions as he listens. It's not alternate chapters, it's all together, Hannah in italics, Clay not. We listen along with him, we get some further context of what Hannah is saying from Clay's own memories. It's really hard to listen, because you know it's already happened, and yet as you read, you hope someone will help her. If Clay knew, he would have - this you know for certain because of the person he is, despite the mistakes he's made. It's just so incredibly sad that Hannah wasn't as honest until she had decided to end it.
This story revolves around bullying, but not as you expect. It's not in your face bullying. Some people may not even consider it bullying, because if you do... then perhaps you've been a bully yourself at some point, and who wants to be confronted with that? It's the small comments, the small actions, due to things you've heard or seen. You might make one comment. But if everyone is making a comment, and it's been happening for years? It can affect you. Rumours are a terrible, terrible thing. Especially when people act on those rumours. This whole story is a snowball affect of small actions leading on to much bigger things. Things that get worse. Things that become difficult to deal with, to live with. Things that you just don't want to have to think about anymore, causing feelings you don't want to feel. It was terrible reading this book, because at times, I knew exactly how Hannah felt. Small comments, small actions might not seem like much, but when it feels like everyone has turned against you... it's hard to deal with. It can feel like too much. And Hannah felt there was only one way to escape it.
As I said, it snowballs, and things get worse, much worse. The things she unwittingly involves herself in, the things she sees, the consequences of things she knows... there are some terrible, terrible occurrences in this book, and with everything else Hannah has going on in her life, I can understand how it all got on top of her, how it all felt like too much, and that she just couldn't deal any more. And Clay! Sweet Clay, having to listen to it all, finally understanding, but being unable to do anything, having no way to help, because it's happened already. There is nothing he can do but listen.
This book will change you, even if it's just a little. You will look at yourself and the way you treat others. You will question your behaviour. Because who is a saint, right? Who has never repeated what they heard? Who has never thought of - treated - someone differently because of what they heard? Who's life have you made that much harder by doing what, at the time, seemed like nothing? It's scary. Incredibly powerful, extremely thought-provoking, beautifully moving. I am in so much awe.
Published: 6th August 2009
Jay Asher's Blog
Thirteen Reasons Why Website