Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a box with his name on it sitting on his porch. After opening it, he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On the tapes, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she ended her life. Clay is one of them and if he listens to the tapes, he’ll find out just what he did to make the list.

Through the duel narratives of Hannah and Clay, Jay Asher creates a story that will make your heart quicken and will make your fingers twitch to turn the pages faster to find out what happens.

I read this book in four hours. No, that does not mean that it was amazing.

Debut author, Jay Asher used a very unique way of writing Thirteen Reasons Why. Using Clay as the narrator, he told Hannah’s story through him, because that’s who this book is about: Hannah. Clay barely fits into this story and when he does, it’s a let-down.
Clay’s reason for being on the tapes comes just after half way through the book, we don’t even really need his narrative. All he’s needed for is for receiving the tapes and after that he follows the map that Hannah left all of the people on her cassettes so that they could literally go to the point that she was talking about and experience the setting for themselves.
His voice during this novel is almost unnecessary; which is a shame because the novel itself is well-written. Asher’s description of events through the eyes of Hannah is realistic and describes high-school life perfectly.

The character of Hannah is confusing. She’s committed suicide, she wants to tell the people on the tapes what caused her to do this and she tells her story brilliantly. But she doesn’t come across as someone who is in distress, as someone who was going to kill herself the following day, as someone who has had the worst rumours being spread about her.

Instead, Hannah comes across as bitchy (which is kind of understandable due to the horrible situations that she’s found herself in), she comes across a harpy who is chasing after revenge and at times, this can get very annoying. She is also not innocent of not hurting people. She witnesses something devastating and doesn’t stop it, she has the opportunity to stop another disaster and she doesn’t stop that. Hannah herself describes her suicide as a “snowball effect” that was created by the people on the tape and also from the disasters that she didn’t stop.

 

“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.” 
 Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why
This book has it’s problems: the narrative from Clay could have been thought out better and the character of Hannah could have been more deep rather than a bitchy teenager, but Thirteen Reasons Why is well written. 

It wasn’t a brilliant read for me because it shows suicide in a practical joke kind-of-way and not something that needs to be taken seriously. Hannah is blaming these people for her death but not thinking of the consequences that this could lead to.

It’s an easy read but not a book that I was entirely happy with.

Warning: this book contains triggers for depression 

 

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