Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
January 28, 2010
Last night, I finished Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why. (I know, I know, I am the last person on the planet to read this book. Also: spoiler alert below!)
This morning, I thought about how the teen bullies in high school, become the bullies in college, become the bullies in the office. How someone like Bryce, for example, will continue to abuse women until they’re in prison. And I wondered how many girls were like Hannah, who felt the snowball rolling and didn’t think there was any other way to stop the slide.
I’ll admit, when I started the book, I was a little taken aback by the anger in Hannah’s voice. She was hard to empathize with, and at the end of the first few tapes I thought, “okay, high school sucks. But suicide worthy?” But I think when Asher gave Clay that moment of clarity – that he wasn’t getting to know Hannah better; he was learning about Hannah at her end — it was also a moment of clarity for the reader. As I read further, I found myself hoping that perhaps Hannah had sent the tapes and then ran away. A twist ending, where she wasn’t dead, and Clay could save her. I knew that was ridiculous, it was clear the book wasn’t set up that way. But still, I hoped.
And this morning, I felt sad for the loss of Hannah – a character who was already dead from the moment I opened the book. And angry at her classmates, most of them flawed individuals (like all of us), but some worse than others. But I also felt relieved for Skye, and the real-life teenagers like her that are walking the hallways. Perhaps Asher’s message of reaching out/stopping the snowball will reach them.
1.) In general, what did you think of the book, my bloggery readers?
2.) On Amazon, a few commenters feel that Hannah’s reasons were trivial. Do you agree?
3.) Some commenters also feel that this book shouldn’t be read by anybody under 17 (!). Do you think books about suicidal teens encourage teens to commit suicide?