Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why | Irene Lin – Grade 11 | Taipei Teen Tribune

13 reasons why book

“I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes you’re one of the reasons why.”

Plot

Clay Jensen returns home to find a shoebox containing seven tapes with a number painted on each side. Speaking through the tapes was the voice of Hannah Baker, a girl who had committed suicide by swallowing a handful of pills; she tells thirteen stories of thirteen people who led her to the end of her life.

Listening to Hannah’s voice made Clay panic and those who made Hannah’s list will also hear his story, but he couldn’t think of anything he did that could hurt her. In fact, the only time they had a real conversation was at the night of a party, “That night drags many of you into the story as well… A random night that none of you can take back,” Hanna recounts ominously.

Imagine walking down the street to 7-11 but a police officer came up and said you were guilty for committing a crime. When listening to Hannah’s accusation of him and others, Clay was overwhelmed with fear and loathing and felt as if he’d been accused of a crime himself.

Instead of writing from a third person point of view, author Jay Asher introduces Hannah’s story through Clay’s perspective. Readers can easily associate with the uneasiness in Clay’s mind and feel as if they are actually listening to Hannah’s voice.

Bullying, betrayal, unearned reputation, and lack of support from her friends brought Hannah to despair. She had doubts and struggles and at last gave up. With the world turning its back on her, she was left with no choice.

Controversy

Due to the dark plot, real-life parents and teachers are debating whether kids should be allowed to read this morose novel. Many are afraid that kids are more likely to see suicide as a solution when facing difficulties in the future.

Sadly, such issues are usually avoided in conversations and victims who have decided to take their lives are often not spoken about.

Thirteen Reasons Why teaches teens, who are slowly learning about the world, a practical life lesson. While villains in fairy tales have distinct appearances, those in real life act like ordinary people and could be among friends, strangers, or even people you highly respect.

It’s easy for outsiders to say “time will heal everything” because they aren’t the ones who would have nightmare about these painful experiences.

Many neglect the consequences of their actions; physical pain may be easy to cure, but mental harm lasts forever.

“And what about you––the rest of you––did you notice the scars you’ve left behind? No. Probably not.”

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