Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher
Clay Jenson receives a box of cassettes from Hannah Baker, two weeks after her suicide, explaining why she did it.
I didn’t dislike this, but I don’t think it completely did the thing it was trying to do. The point is, you never know what someone else is going through, or how the things you do impact them. So maybe just be nice. And I’m fully on board with that message, but no one in the entire book accepted responsibility for anything they did. They just blamed someone else. Or, in Hannah’s case, everyone else.
It feels weird to criticize Hannah, because suicide is horrible, and I’m very much aware of that fact. But Hannah is a character, and what she did with the tapes was very petty and vengeful. Putting her death on particular people, especially when some of them didn’t do anything wrong, and she did some awful things herself. Then she intentionally avoided sending the tapes to the worst person in her story. It really just felt like it was glorifying suicide as a way to get back at your bullies.
I did like the way the story was written. Hannah tells her story, mostly in order, and Clay listens and fills in the gaps for the sake of a complete narration. It’s something I’ve never read before, and while Clay was annoying sometimes when I just wanted to read Hannah’s part, it showed his reactions and thoughts about what he was hearing, as he was hearing it.
So, style-wise, I enjoyed this, and it had some good parts. But, I didn’t connect with Hannah, or Clay, and that meant this book didn’t have the impact it should have.