Saturday, June 13, 2009

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher

One day Clay Jensen comes home from school to find a shoe box package with no return address. At first he’s excited, but when he opens the box, he finds seven cassette tapes. And when he plays them, he finds that they were recorded by a classmate named Hannah Baker, a girl who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

Recorded on the tapes are thirteen reasons why Hannah chose to end her life. The reasons are all linked to specific people, and the tapes are passed onto those people in the order they are on Hannah’s list. They are all, in some way, responsible for Hannah’s death. Clay stays out the whole night, listening to the sounds of Hannah’s voice leading him throughout the town, basically reliving select experiences from Hannah’s life that lead up to her decision to end it.

For a debut novel, Thirteen Reasons Why is exceptionally well-written especially considering the topic. Hannah's narration interweaves with Clay's comments and memories which makes it a bit confusing to read. I read this book in one go. Disturbed, would be an understatement on how I felt while reading this book. I feel what Clay feels. I was sweating while reading this book like he was while he was listening to Hanna's tapes, and I'm sure I look terrible then just like him. It was hard for me to read this book and by the end of it I felt a sense of hopelessness and I want to wept for Hannah.

This book demonstrates perfectly how even the smallest of your actions can affect people in a significant way. However, I have a mixed feeling for Hannah, I felt sorry for her but in the same time, I was annoyed with her. Yes, she had some major issues but they were mostly psychological and had nothing to do with the people on the list. Also, I felt as if the drama was forced. Tape after tape, I sat waiting for major crimes created by the people on the list that could have push Hannah over the edge but there was none. I failed to understand her motives to kill herself, perhaps because I personally know a couple of girls her age who have gone through a lot worse and still have to fight the demons of their past but yet still have a strong will to keep on surviving.

Despite everything, Thirteen Reasons Why is a powerful read, one that will make you cry, hate and ultimately, one you will come to love. And hopefully, a book that you will remember...


Kate said...

Thanks for an honest review. I really want to read this book! It sounds like a great read.

-Sara Cempaka- said...
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