Wednesday, 16 May 2012
Th1rteen R3asons Why - Jay Asher
Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: razor bill
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...
I would like to start by saying that this book is just amazing - the concept of it, and what inspired it is just phenomenal.
The impact that this book has had on me is also something that adds to the magnificence of this exceptional debut by Jay Asher. Whilst this book was published in 2009 already, it started making waves in the blogosphere last year, and that is how it came to be on my radar.
This book actually awoke some ghosts from the past whilst I was reading it. I shall try very hard not to include too much of that in my review, but should it slip in, please forgive me.
I have never read a book like Thirteen Reasons Why before. What one tends to see in popular culture is those who are left behind after a loved one's suicide picking up the pieces of their lives, or we will see someone who has just had enough taking their life. This wonderful book tells the story behind suicide so much better, it goes to the root of why Hannah felt she had no way out but to take her life.
This book is haunting and compelling, you need to see what happened to poor Hannah, what made her reach this conclusion. I could not put it down, I read this book through the night, I felt as though I were Clay listening to these tapes that could only lead to one outcome. I felt what Clay was feeling, the discomfort of knowing the outcome, hearing what happened leading up to it. I could completely understand why he felt so sick.
My own experience with a suicidal friend may have made this book mean a bit more to me than to a reader who has never known anyone with suicidal tendencies. This book helped me to realise that even though you don't think so, and you don't always feel it, these things affect you. Clay was saddened by Hannah's suicide, he felt bad about not doing anything to show he was there for her, but then she helped him to feel better. Even though he felt worse knowing what she endured, knowing what she says to him on those tapes sets him apart from the other 12 people.
I feel that this is a book that everyone should read at least once in their lives, and it would be great if it became a prescribed book for highschools. How we don't realise how we impact the lives and actions of others is for me one of the central movements of this haunting debut, and is definitely a lesson that we all should learn before we become a Hannah or a Clay.