13 Reasons Why
October 18, 2007
(and it's $10.97 on Amazon right now which I believe is less than it's been...)
Maybe you've been lucky and not had to deal with suicide at all...and in a way I have been, but there was also a year where a girl my brother'd been in classes with for two years killed herself (they're pretty sure it was at least partially because of some anti-depressants she'd started). Then within the following school year a girl in the grade behind me commited suicide and I think one other girl as well (I was in the hospital that fall, my memory of then's kinda sketchy). Suicide's one of those things that's not contagious, of course, but if it happens once it's more likely to happen twice and the more likely to happen three times...
I know that fall I wondered 'why' numerous times. We lived in a good area, had great schools, people said the girls had friends/were their friends, they seemed happy... But obviously somethign wasn't right.
And isn't that the question we all ask? Whether it's a friend or someone we hear about on the news or a celebrity or our neighbors' cousins' boyfriend..when someone kills themself, you wonder 'Why?'
And that's what 13 Reasons Why is all about. One day Clay arrives home to find a taped up shoebox with no return address sitting on his doorstep; inside he finds a series of cassette tapes. The tapes are filled with the voice of Hannah Baker, Clay's classmate and crush, who commited suicide several weeks before, explaining what-and who-led to her death...essentially 'why' she commited suicide.
This is one of those books that was always just sort of around, I saw it at B&N, at Target, I saw it on everyone and their mother's blog but I never felt like reading it (I know I even picked it up once or twice at Barnes & Noble). I'm not sure if it was the subject matter that kept me from reading it (I didn't feel like reading about suicide?) or what but finally it was on one more persons blog and I decided to just read it already--and then the two libraries I can get books from had it due back in November and the people kept it till December...
I am so, so glad I finally did read this book. The back flap states that Jay Asher got the idea for the book while listening to one of those audio tours at a museum and thinking about how the womans's voice was in his ear but she wasn't there...and I think that really did carry over into the book because instead of being creepy or trite or anything else it could have been, having Hannah really narrate so much of this book, was...endearing?
It was a story where I knew the whole time that she was dead and that this was just a fiction book so there wasn't anything more to it but I wanted there to be someway for her-and Clay-to have a happy ending at the end. I really wanted to just shake some of the other people... Because it was told after the fact, you just knew that nothing could be done about the things that were happening and that made things all the more heartwrenching--but that much better, too.
I hope that people will read this book and see how they can't stop the 7th person or the 12th (did I ever say that there are 13 people who will get the tapes? oops), maybe they'll recognize some things that we can all do in real life to not be that 7th person. Because we might not do something that's bad enough to on its own, but I think 13 Reasons does a great job illustrating how everything we do adds up...and can be Why.
This (like Such a Pretty Girl) is another book that I think would be good for schools to read because it's a good subject matter to be discussed but also enjoyable writing/something that you'd read for pleasure unlike so many school chosen books.
(Amazon's pictures for the book have the map that's part of the story--is that with the book if you buy it? like I said, I got it from the library so it was all plastic sealed..)
I hope that's an okay review for you Stargirl-I really did love the book :)