Thirteen Reasons Why is definitely not your typical young adult novel. When I heard it was adapted for a tv show and would release soon, I saw this is as an opportunity to finally read the novel.
Clay Jensen comes home from school to find a strange package waiting for him. It only has his address but not the return address written on it. Inside he finds a bunch of recorded cassette tapes from Hannah Baker – the Hannah Baker who committed suicide only two weeks earlier. On the cassette tapes Hannah explains there are thirteens reasons why she killed herself – Clay is one of them.
It is really difficult for me to find the right words to express my feelings. On the one hand, the story didn’t completely blow away my mind as I hoped it would, but on the other hand it is still a great book with such a strong and important message for all of us.
“What makes someone kill themselves?” That’s a question I often ask myself when hearing about people committing suicide. I’m sure you all agree with me when I say that no one has a perfect life: we all have good times but we also have bad times. Now we all have to face struggles during our lives, but what makes our struggles different from the struggles of people who killed themselves? Are they really that different? Don’t we all have to face similar struggles one way or the other? Or is it the support that is missing in their life? I am not a psychiatrist or anything close to that but I can imagine that a lot of people who committed suicide don’t have much support from family or friends, maybe they don’t have any support at all. And every human being needs support and approval from other human beings, that is in our nature. But how do they feel when they don’t have that? How do they feel when no one really cares about them? Don’t they feel alone, forgotten and easily overlooked from others? What if it gets worse and those lonely people get mocked or bullied?
And when do they come to the desicion to kill themselves? Is it triggered by something and therefore a knee-jerk reaction? Is it a slow process? Does the idea of committing suicide get stronger every day? Is it something that the person thinks of straightaway?
People’s minds are complex and I can’t even begin to comprehend each individual train of thoughts. And that is why every suicide case is different. Every case starts different and every case has a different development. And Thirteen Reasons Why is Jay Asher‘s “different”. Drawn from personal experience, Asher decided to write the story of Hannah Baker and publish it as a book. Thanks to this novel, many questions I’ve asked myself in the past about the “Why?” of a suicide were answered. But as I mentioned before, every case is different and unfortunately there are many many more reasons to kill oneself but Asher’s book gave me a small glimpse of the “Why?”.
The narrative of the story is unusual, yet unique. Since this is the 21st century, Asher could’ve decided on a USB stick or a download link as a delivery method but he chose to go with old-school cassette tapes, which I really liked. Clay’s immediate reactions to Hannah’s story was chosen very well as well.
I don’t want to spoil too much here but be aware of the fact that all of us have an effect on others and that others have an effect on us as well. Those effects can be small or big as well as positive or negative. Things we do and say and how we act toward others may not seem big to us personally, but it may does to our counterpart.
Unfortunately, people these days are too focused on themselves and their own lives (me included) and we don’t think about others and their problems, let alone that our words and/or actions may have something to do with those problems. Hopefully we will be more aware of that after reading the book. Hopefully we can even help others and make them see that life is worth living.
Lots of bookish love,