Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.
I had a lot of problems with this book.
At the height of the new show adaptation’s hype, I was having so many people telling me to watch it, that I thought I might give it a go. When I heard that it was based off a book, I decided I wanted to read the book first, because the book is always better. There is never a doubt in my mind that the book will or will not be better.
As soon as I could, I checked out a copy at the library since I didn’t want to buy it if I didn’t end up liking it, and honestly I’m very glad I made that decision. I was so sure that I was going to like this though, because so many people loved it and thought it was the best thing ever.
I read the book in a little under two days, so not any faster or slower than I usually read a book of it’s size. I do give the author credit however, because within the first fifteen pages, I was gripped. I really thought I was going to like it. But as I got further and further into the book, I started having a lot of problems with it. I ignored my thoughts, just to be able to finish and enjoy the book, but as soon as I was done, I really wasn’t sure how I felt. I gave it a three star rating and let my mind sit on it, eventually changing it to two stars. There were so many things I didn’t like about it.
First, it romanticized suicide.
A common thing in YA now is suicide, as I’ve found in books such as All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. The sad thing about it, especially in AtBP’s case, it makes it too okay, sound too okay. Without realizing it, they are romanticizing it. Put a love story around it, it suddenly makes it okay.
Second, the graphic descriptions of suicide.
Suicide and depression are real things, that many people go through, including myself once at a time in my life. Thoughts of not wanting to be around anymore are very real, and books like this don’t help. I can’t even begin to explain my thoughts because there are so many it’s all jumbled.
Over all, I was just like:
Sorry, I really wouldn’t recommend this one at all. If you liked it, good for you. But I had way to many problems with it. I wanted to write a longer review about it, but I really can’t. There was too much I didn’t like.