Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thursday 10 October 2013

Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why
Jay Asher
Genre(s): young adult, contemporary, realistic fiction
Published: June 14th 2011
Pages: 288
Rating: 2 stars

Clay Jensen doesn't want anything to do with the tapes Hannah Baker made. Hannah is dead. Her secrets should be buried with her.

Then Hannah's voice tells Clay that his name is on her tapes-- and that he is, in some way, responsible for her death.

All through the night, Clay keeps listening. He follows Hannah's recorded words throughout his small town. . .

. . .and what he discovers changes his life forever.

From the beginning, I knew I wouldn't really enjoy Thirteen Reasons Why. I didn't know how angry it would make me, though.

While I can deal with switches in POVs and narration, I found it hard to keep up with the constant swaps in Thirteen Reasons Why. I understand why it was done, Hannah was the voice on the tapes and the rest of the book - Clay's POV - was written in first person. But that doesn't mean it wasn't annoying. I understand Clay's thoughts were interspersed within the playing of the tapes to break it up a little, but half the time the thoughts were random, boring and really had no relevance to the tape. Sure, he was talking about the same party they attended, but no one really cares if he forgot his jacket on purpose. This book is about Hannah's reasons for killing herself, not Clay's random and annoying thoughts to interrupt that. Or, that's how I viewed it anyway.

I also can't help but feel that Hannah's reasons were, well... rubbish. Not only that, I find her whole idea just down right cruel. Okay, it sounds interesting, but when it really comes down to it it's nasty. Why would you do something like that? As if people don't feel bad enough abut someone committing suicide, why would you guilt them? Why would you blame them for something that was ultimately your decision because you couldn't handle living any more? Why would you set them up to become public enemies? (That's my personal view, at least.) And going back to her reasons being rubbish, I just feel that they weren't enough for suicide. I feel like they're problems countless teens deal with on a daily basis, and yeah, things can spiral out of control, but suicide? I just feel she overreacted. Like, majorly. It made her sound whiny and like she was just doing it for attention or something. And she didn't even sound like she was suffering in the tapes, I actually thought she sounded like she was enjoying herself. Why would you commit suicide if you weren't suffering? (Whether that's the author not fully portraying her suffering or not, I don't know.) I understand a suicide note or something with an apology, but if you were really desperate and unable to cope, I can't see anyone taking the time to make cassette tapes and pass them around. I just... No. This book rubbed me the wrong way.

While I was reading this I got a very Perks of being a Wallflower-esque vibe and I cannot stand that book. Maybe that's part of the reason why I didn't get on with Thirteen Reasons Why. Or maybe it's just because I found it rather unbelievable.

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