Monday, April 24, 2017

T is for Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher #atozchallenge

You can't stop the future. 
You can't rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.
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.

My Review:

So I initially was going to read thirteen before I binge watched the new show. Yeah.... that didn't quite work out. lol. My daughter really wanted to watch it and I ended up watching the whole thing in one sitting. 

I liked both versions equally. They both bring a very dark subject into the light and I think give it the attention it needs. I heard from someone recently that there has been some backlash. That some people are saying they feel both the book and the show glorify suicide. As someone who has had their own close relationship with the topic I have to disagree. I even recently read an interview that the author gave that said originally he planned to have Hannah live. But decided against it because it would have given the reader the idea that suicide wasn't permanent, or something along those lines. 

But I am not here to start a debate or fan girl over a tv show. I am here to review a book. (and maybe fangirl over it a bit. lol)

So on with the show!

I loved this book. I think it takes a heartbreaking topic and shows it in an honest light. Because of it's huge popularity it also opens a door for the readers to discuss said topic without the stigma that has become attached to it.

The characters. OMGS. Just yeah. I knew how the book ended. There wasn't going to be some magic last minute twist that brought Hannah back, yet I still couldn't help getting attached to her and Clay. Obviously you don't get to know the supporting characters as well in the book as you do in the show. But I didn't miss that. The book didn't give me a chance to. Where the show investigates how everyone effected Hannah and was effected by her death, the book is just the raw emotion of Hannah and Clay. One isn't better than the other, they're just different. But since the only two characters who's viewpoints you get to see in the book are theirs it just makes it a bit more raw. You also get to a better look at how she saw Clay. Why she was interested in him in the first place. Why she didn't see a way to make things work for him. 

The author did an amazing job of telling Hannah's story from her pov. You read it and you want to say "But no Hannah, there are other choices!" But that's the point. In her mind there wasn't. That's one of the hardest parts to explain to someone who has never had to struggle with suicidal thoughts. Even if you know there are better choices. You need help to get away from that mind set. In Hannah's case she even realized that, but when she reached out the person she asked for help just didn't. 

That's another thing, a lot of the time when someone reaches out they aren't taken seriously. I admit it is a hard thing for someone in good mental health to understand. That things are SO bad that the only acceptable plan of action would be one that leaves the opportunity for other choices to never happen again. But that's where a suicidal persons mind takes them. Sometimes even when they have enough left to want to ask for help they still can't take it. The person who wants to help them has to realize they have to hold on and not let go. Because it can be a constant battle. Somehow Asher is able to bring all of that to the table. He shows Hannah acknowledging that she can't do it alone. At the same time showing Clay coming to the realization that maybe there was something he could have done if he had just seen the signs. But that at the same time even someone who was supposed to see them wasn't able to help her. I'm not trying to be negative and say that she couldn't have been helped. I just think the help she needed was way more than Clay would have been able to provide on his own. 

But Asher is able to weave both their voices together to show both sides of the issue. From the very first page the reader is drawn in and long after the final page they still aren't let go. This isn't just another teenage angst ridden ill-fated romance. If you haven't seen the show or read the book, for whatever reason, I think that you should definitely at least read the book. Yes, It's heartbreaking. Yes, the girl died. No, I'm not going to give a spoiler alert on that one, you find out she's dead at the beginning of the book.  There is no magic or hero. There is only Clay and Hannah and their story. But it is so worth reading for whatever lesson you think to take from it. Whether it's suicide isn't the answer to you should be kind because you never know how your actions effect others. I think this is a book that should be read and discussed and read again. Even in it's simplicity the author has found a way to move the reader. For that reason alone it deserves to be read.

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