Thirteen Reasons Why is a story about Hannah who leaves a series of cassette tapes for people who impacted her choice to commit suicide. On these tapes, she describes why each of those people received the tapes and how they made her life unbearable. The story is told from the perspective of one of the recipients, Clay. For a more complete summary, you can go here.
OK, so this book is about a very touchy subject—suicide. If I’m going to focus on that issue, here are my thoughts. A lot of her problems (minus one circumstance) were things that happen a lot to girls/boys in high school. I worry that this kind of glorifies suicide and that anyone who is going through similar issues might see suicide as a better solution. I also didn’t like how she blamed everyone else for her suicide. She did admit that in the end it was her choice, but she is essentially ruining several people’s lives by blaming them for her death. How does a person move on after they believe that they were the reason for someone committing suicide? I do understand that the point is more so that people should be aware of their actions and words, because you never know how it will affect someone. I like that concept, but I wish that the book showed how the actual bullies were changed by the story, and not just the person who was caring and considerate the whole time.
With that touchy subject out of the way, I’ll focus on the actual novel. I liked the idea of the audio tapes and the narrative switching back and forth from Clay to Hannah. It gave a more dynamic story than just switching off each chapter, as multiple-perspective books usually do. However, I did find it to be very confusing at times. Sometimes things were happening to Clay as he was listening to Hannah’s tapes, so the stories would get kind of jumbled in my head. I had to go back and reread some sections for clarification. The story was intriguing enough that I didn’t mind too much about that. I definitely wanted to keep reading without stopping.
Overall, it was a good story and I hope it makes people think about reaching out to other people and being kind. I also hope it helps those who are feeling suicidal feel inspired to ask for help. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it let me know what you think!
If you or someone you know if feeling hopeless or suicidal, please call 1 (800) 273-8255.
**** 4/5 Stars