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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jay Asher - Thirteen Reasons why

Hey guys! for a long time I've been telling you that after reading Thirteen reasons why By Jay Asher this was one book that left a huge impression on me. I thought it would be a great high school read for kids to think about there actions however small they may seem.
I recommended my good friend Sam read the book so she could share her thoughts with you which she did perfectly! Here is her review:



Thirteen Reasons Why


Thirteen Reasons Why is an engaging and though provoking account of the events leading up to the suicide of a teenage girl, Hannah Baker, told via the tapes left by the her to explain the events leading up to the event. The tapes are to be passed around everyone who, by their action or inaction, was implicated in the suicide, and we join the story via the fifth recipient. Hannah, explains in teasing detail how each person contributed to a high school life that began as isolated, but escalated to unbearable. It forces the reader to examine their actions and inaction's, however insignificant they may seem.

Considering it’s central theme is how seemingly everyday actions can spark of a chain of events it avoids the temptation to get too sensationalist about a kind of butterfly effect and with a couple of exceptions, it is not built around major incidents, just a building sadness that becomes a very believable despair. It is a resonant indictment of high school life, and reminds us of the selfishness and ignorance that was permitted within the walls of our own high schools. In fact it’s all the more compelling because it deals with the time in our own lives when we’re most likely to regret a selfish action or staying silent when we should’ve spoken up for someone vulnerable. It is helped by the fact that the main protagonists feel very real, this is to the real credit of Jay Asher as teenagers are incredibly difficult characters to construct.

The fifth recipient of the tapes who narrates half of the story, Clay Jensen, has maturity beyond his years, but this is a necessary device in order to get a mature reflection on Hannah’s story. He works through what might be one’s immediate reaction to a suicide – to be angry, frustrated, and dismissive of Hannah apportioning blame to other people. His response sounds out the anger but takes you right to the heart of the truth of the situation – that her suicide is a subtle mix of her inability to reach out for help and the unwillingness of others to reach out to her. The likability of his character if such that you spend a lot of the first half hoping he will be exonerated – though I wont reveal whether or not he is. 

It makes for uncomfortable reading, all the more so for the millions of teenagers that the bestseller list suggests are reading it, but has the potential to jolt you out of complacency with regard to your own actions. The mild bullying and exclusion that instills such torment in Hannah is something we would all have once regarded as acceptable, likewise the high-school intolerance for anyone marginally different. Overall, this is a gripping read as well as a story that carries an important sentiment, you are left not only glad that your have read it, but glad that it’s out there for others to read.








4 comments:

melissa said...

I liked the message in this book so much I found it hard to put into words the importance of it... Sam you did it perfectly!

Great Review

Kristina said...

Wonderful post! This book is on my to-read list so I can't wait to start it. I definitely feel that it is one of those books that need to be in every school library.

Andra said...

Cool! I hear you (Mel) talking about this book all the time and it's made me practically itching to get my hands on it. I really liked your (Samantha's) take on it too! Now I REALLY have to find it...

Sam said...

Thanks guys! I'll definitely review again!