Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

Summary: Clay Jensen doesn't want anything to do with the tapes Hannah Baker made. Hannah is dead. Her secrets should be buried with her. Then Hannah's voice tells Clay that his name is on her tapes- and that he is, in some way, responsible for her death. All through the night, Clay keeps listening. He follows Hannah's recorded words throughout his small town. . . and what he discovers changes his life forever. 

I think I liked the concept of this book more than I like how it all turned out. There were some points where I felt it wasn't genuine, that I could tell the words were someone else's and not the characters. I'm not sure how to explain that without spoiling things but if you read it, hopefully you'll understand what I mean. Regardless, I enjoyed reading what things a person who wants to commit suicide is feeling before they do. Who wouldn't want to know what breaks down a person that much that they would rather not live than go through it? Who wouldn't want to know what could have changed their minds about suicide? At most times, it did seem realistic but there were times I felt like I needed to know more about the characters . . .

Many times throughout the story, Hannah mentions people who have affected her life positively or negatively. Clay doesn't know much about her life other than the parts he's seen so each new person she brings up is quite shocking to him. As the reader, I can't share in this shock. I don't know who these characters are. And even when Clay explains them, I am still not shocked. The characters even seem like they should be in Hannah's life, after she explains how they all fit in. I know it's hard to write a story like that with all these other plot points and details but I felt like that was a big deal.

One big detail I did like was the lesson. You can't change the past but you can make a better future. We are offered many chances in our short lives. Chances to speak up, to help others. Most of the time we stay silent. We sit in the shadows paralyzed with silence. If we could only bring ourselves to stand up and fight for ourselves and others, we could ignite change. That was a huge theme in the book and I liked how that was included.

Overall, I won't be reading this again anytime soon but if the subject matter interests you, I would recommend reading it. It's a simple read that took me only a couple days.

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