Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

I have so many comments about this novel. Welcome to your tape. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go off on one of my Anna Karenina rants.

I wasn’t going to read this book. After reading the blurb, I had no interest in it. After reading the reviews, I knew the teenage angst would drive me mad. After being manipulated by my best friend, I read it anyway. It just so happened to fit into my “Book you can read in a day” category. I started reading it at 8 pm and finished at 11 pm. I’m a relatively fast reader, but I can’t imagine it taking anyone longer than a few hours.

Where do I start? I’m only 24, but I tried to tap into the part of my brain that could relate to how the teenage mind works. I highly recommend doing this before reading. Otherwise, it will be very hard to get through. I HATE that I am saying this, but I struggled to sympathise with Hannah at times. It sounds like I’m a monster. Who even says that they struggled to sympathise with a dead girl? Apparently me. Yes, some things happened to her that should happen to no one. There are also things that I just don’t understand. Why did she only try to befriend the popular people? Did she not realise that she was in a school full of people probably feeling similar emotions? Why did she keep putting herself in these situations? Also: why did she leave behind the tapes for Clay and Tony who apparently did nothing to deserve them? Didn’t she realise that it would leave them feeling guilty for the rest of their lives?

Those are just some of the reasons why I turned on the teenage part of my brain. Becuase teenage centre justified Hannah by remembering that she wasn’t thinking anything through. She clearly had little to no regard for what other people were feeling or thinking or would feel in the future.

I am still really torn on whether I believe that this book encourages or discourages suicide. It’s such a sensitive topic, and I’m always weary of how it’s handled. On the one hand, mature readers could pick up this book and realise that it’s showing the backfire of suicide. It’s showing all the pain and hurt that is left behind. On the other hand, some might think that it’s encouraging suicide by showing suicide as a viable option for revenge fantasies. The problem with this is that this book isn’t aimed at mature readers who would immediately pick up on the message. It is aimed at younger readers who may not immediately recognise the causes or consequences of Hannah’s actions.

I know that this book is such a hot topic right now due to the Netflix series. I just finished the last episode of the series and let me say that one of the only similarities between the two is the fact that Hannah left behind tapes to explain why she killed herself. I love to hate the series. I have a million things to say about it, but I won’t. I’ll let you judge for yourself.


One thought on “Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

  1. Given that I failed to manipulate you into reading Harry Potter, I’ll take this as an accolade.

    You know I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said here. Especially the stuff about the series that was LOOSELY, loosely based on the book. I’ve read this book at least nine times and I can’t answer the questions you have about it, yet. Especially whether it’s doing a good thing for suicide prevention or not. I think the intention behind it was great, but – as you said – it had to be written for teens so a lot of the meat that could have gone into it was left out.

    At the same time, I will forever love this book and what it intends to do, the debates it stirs, and it’s main male protagonist. Series!Clay was disappointing. He was, dare I say it, a muddied version of the Real Clay. (Too soon for earth jokes about a man called Clay? No? Good.) Thanks for taking this journey with me.


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