Published in: 2007
Edition read: E-book
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.
I read this book on Anzac day and have been putting off reviewing it for nearly a month now. I think it’s time. This was a hard review to do… this is such a hot topic right now.
I’ve been aware of this book since it was released and made a huge impression on the reading community back in 07/08, but never really got around to reading it. Tbh, I thought it sounded a bit too grim to read. Who on earth sends people a mixtape telling them that they were the reason they killed themselves? That’s just sick.
Then the TV show was created and released a few months back, and I knew I had to read the book. The book is better than the TV show, for anyone interested. For starters, the book occurs over one night, instead of the bloody months it takes TV Clay to get through the tapes. The book is more emotional, better, quicker to read (3 hours, as opposed to the 13 hours it takes to watch the show). Books are always better.
I also hate how people are now interpreting the show- we have had so many discussions at work about the show and everyone just gets angry because unless you have been a victim of bullying, have experienced depression or other mental illnesses, or been/known suicidal people, you just don’t understand.
But try telling people that and they get all opinionated and shit (If she’s depressed, why doesn’t she just smile? If she has no friends, why doesn’t she just go make some?) Seriously, people just don’t understand, and it infuriates me (I work with people who were never bullied at school. Seriously. They didn’t think it actually happened in real life.)
But that aside. I’m glad I read this book but it was hard. You need to understand how hard it is to get through a book like this, because it’s sad as hell and terrible but addictive to read. It’s not a book you read lightly, you have to go in realising that there is no happy ending.
Thirteen Reasons Why rating: 8/10. It was a really hard book to get through, but I am glad I did
Would I re-read it? No. This is a ‘once and done’ kinda book- you read it, but it’s not something you read over and over again. Just like the TV show isn’t something you watch over and over again, because it’s hard to get through.
Who would I recommend it to? OK. This was one of those discussions/arguments I had with my coworkers.
I would NOT RECOMMEND this book to anyone who is bullied, depressed, or especially suicidal. No way in hell. Why? Because this book highlights a successful suicide. You do not give that to anyone who might be suicidal, because it’s like saying “see, she succeeded. This is what you can do”. So hell no, do not give this to your suicidal teen friend/daughter/son/whatever.
I would recommend this to anyone who has seen the show. Books are better. Otherwise, I honestly cannot recommend this to anyone because this is something you have to be ready to read…
This was probably one of the hardest books to review because I have so many opinions about it and it’s so hard to not rant about how horrible people can be, or how annoyed I’ve gotten over the last month with my co-workers who say shit and just don’t understand because their highschool experience was nothing like this. I think the main takeaway is that your actions have consequences, and should you ever think someone is being bullied, or may be suicidal, you need to tell people. You need to seek help. Don’t ignore it.
Also, highschool does end. While Hanna was having the worst time of her life and thinking there was no end, there is. It’s hard, I know that the highschool years seem to stretch on forever and just getting through one hour is hard enough… but it does end. It gets better. Bullies fade away, people forget scandals and gossip, you come out the other side stronger. Suicide is never the answer.