Saturday, January 9, 2010

Review : Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

Title : Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the book:

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box 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. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

My Review:

This story is about a teenage girl named Hannah Baker who went through a lot of ups and downs in her school life and ended up in committing suicide.
A set of audio tapes arrive at Clay Jensen’s house. When he opens it, he finds it from Hannah Baker, a girl who died a few days ago. He starts listening to the audio tapes, which are recorded in Hannah’s voice telling him the thirteen reasons why she died. And, yes, Clay is one of them. One after another many high school secrets and terrible facts about the students in his school are revealed. Some of them, he knows, and some he doesn’t.

Now, coming to what Hannah actually was. She was no doubt a very good human being and a kindred spirit. Wanted to enjoy her school life like a very normal teenager ,be happy, have true friends and eventually a boyfriend.But, apart from all this, she was very sensitive, fragile minded and emotionally vulnerable (Now, this is what I felt). This book tells the other side of ‘suicide’! We always hear that so and so person committed suicide .But, we never know the real reason behind it!!

WHY????? WHAT made her/him to take such a step??

Hannah’s safe haven has been destroyed by the Jerks she encounters with in her school. She gets a feeling of not feeling safe anywhere (Blame the jerks), disgusting games being played, betrayal by friends and many more! This book is about Hannah telling her side of story through her audio tapes and Clay who is listening to them and the thought process of his brain!

Ok, I am not very sure how I felt about the writing style of this book. The book picks up pace from the middle, till then, its slow and boring at times. I found Clay’s perspective or rather thought process very difficult to understand.
See, the story isn’t about me. I am not studying in the same school where he is. For me, when I start reading, everything is fresh, everything is new. Each and every person right from the beginning is a stranger for me. And yes, when the tape started, I couldn’t build the same excitement which went through Clay. Why? Because I don’t know the people Hannah mentioned. Its like, Clay is my friend, and I am listening to his story. But Somehow I can’t connect with the excitement or ‘Oh my gosh’ feeling that Clay is experiencing. Writing wise, that was the only problem with this book for me at least. But, then again, this was meant to be in this way.

Ok, The major things to tell. I thought that Hannah was –

1. Simply justifying her death by sending tapes and making them realize their mistakes!
2. She wanted to tell people that how #@$! rumors can spoil someone’s life and
3. How these things can affect someone’s psyche if they are not mentally strong.

I think the book just tells us all a story; a story about a girl who committed suicide and what made her take this decision. The real message from the story is that no one should take other person for granted and should always know how their aftermaths can affect certain people in different ways even if they just shrug it off. That’s all. But, I really wanted the author (at least at the back of the book)
1.  to give a reason to live for depressed people who are on the verge of committing suicide.
2. to tell that there is always a ray of hope and there is always a way out.
3. to believe in ‘Expect the least, you get the best!’ (That doesn’t mean you don’t expect at all, but also be prepared for the worst!).
4. to tell that you will find countless stupid, self obsessed, egoistic morons everywhere. But, life is wonderful and you need to live the most of it without letting them spoil it.
5. To tell that guilty conscience is OK. To overcome that, you should try and gather your strength to correct the wrongs you did. And,
6. to tell that Hannah died because of her own reasons and of her own psyche problems.

I don’t blame Hannah at all. NOPE(not that I support her being suicidal)! She was just a young, innocent and a deeply hurt and unstable girl. The people who Hannah met in her life were a bunch of idiots! But again, we always face such people in life at some point of time. Everybody does!!!! It depends simply on how each and every individual takes it and respond towards it! The sad thing was, that Hannah could not turn for help towards anyone (Blame the jerks).

The author Jay Asher mentioned about her leaving her previous town for some reason which he hasn’t stated clearly. Something had happened in her past and she wanted to escape from there (I wonder what?). She wanted to start fresh in a new town. And there she comes with lots of hopes only to find out that they are gonna get crushed miserably! So miserably that she will have only one option left in front of her! I guess the real reason for her to make decision about committing suicide is that she couldn’t stop certain things to happen, in spite of knowing that she could have! Guilty conscience!! THE MAJOR THING!
If you are in the power to stop anything wrong to happen, and when you don’t, your guilty conscience can make you think and do horrible things to yourself.
The author Jay has written this novel beautifully. He was definitely able to go through the mind set of young teen’s problems!  This book is written in a very unique manner. He has told us that closing yourself, or simply hinting at the problems we have cannot solve anything! Jay Asher also says that only one person cannot be responsible for anyone to commit suicide. It is never an aggressive decision. It tells how every person’s deeds affect or at least leave a mark on other person’s life. And, one shouldn’t take anyone/anything for granted. He tells us what kind of problems young teens face everyday.

I never really understood why people committed suicide. But now, I do.
I totally give him credit to make me think things which I never thought about before. Also I owe him for the thoughts (that came while I was reading) which I mentioned I wanted him to explain in the book. This book has definitely made me think and scratch my head a lot!

Now, I found some things weird here –
1. With all this, where were her parents??
2. Clay got only one message from her tapes. He should take a step forward and not be shy and control his feelings!! The end was a little funny for me.

The entire concept of the book is very sensitive and open for a lot of discussion.
I hope I haven’t offended anyone by saying things which I felt about this book/topic. If I have, I am truly sorry.


Blogger Lea said...

Interesting review. I haven't read this novel, but I always hear how heartbreaking it is. Now your review has me curious!

January 9, 2010 at 6:28 AM  
Blogger Shooting Stars Mag said...

Nice review. I really loved this book. It does make you think and I felt for Hannah too.


January 9, 2010 at 12:41 PM  
Blogger Sassy Brit said...

Great post. I've not read it, but I must say I'm curious now, LOL

January 10, 2010 at 12:20 PM  

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