13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Sunday, May 28, 2017

 

"Hello boys and girls. Hannah Baker here. Live and in stereo. No return engagements, no encore, and this time absolutely no requests. I hope you're ready, because I'm about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why it ended. And if you are listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons why."

 

When it comes to this book everyone has an opinion, and working in a bookstore I get to hear them all. Personally I'm all for 13 Reasons Why, not only is it an intensely addictive read, but it actually has something important to say.

 

Topics like mental health, sexual assault and suicide tend to be avoided like the plague, as if not talking about them will somehow make them go away. Unfortunately this isn't the case, in fact it's part of the problem. We need to start talking more openly about these issues, and that is exactly what this book has us doing.

 

Regardless of where you stand on the book or Netflix series, it has opened up a dialogue, and that can only be a good thing. The main concern people seem to have is that it will somehow glamorize these issues. Personally this was not my experience of the book or series and I respect the fact that the show consulted professionals in the relevant fields while writing and shooting. I would be more concerned about other high school dramas glamorizing this vapid, popular mean girls stereotype, which we are constantly being fed.

 

In the real world our words and actions have consequences and we need to own them. What I took away from 13 Reasons Why was that we need to be kinder to one another, because none of us truly know what is going on in someone else's life. Yes we are more digitally connected than ever before but we are also possibly more socially disconnected.

 

To wrap it up I simply loved this book, it was one of the most compelling and thought provoking reads that I've come across this year. I love the narrative style, how it jumps back and forth between Hannah's tapes and Clays thoughts and reactions. I devoured it in no time because I just couldn't put it down. 

 

"no one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people." - Hannah Baker

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©2017 by Daniel Devenney.