Monday, June 25, 2007
TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY
Clay Jensen is just a regular, over-achieving high school student when he comes home from school one day. Then he checks the mail, and everything changes.
He finds a package addressed to him. Inside are 7 cassette tapes, each side marked with a number in nail polish. Clay is puzzled. Who would send him a box full of tapes? Can he even listen to them? It's not like tape players are a dime a dozen anymore.
Clay remembers that his dad has an old boom box in the garage, so he heads out. Clay pops in the first tape, hits play, and then almost falls over. It's Hannah Baker's voice. Hannah Baker who he had a moment with at a party not so long ago. Hannah Baker who freaked out, just as he thought they were getting close. Hannah Baker who killed herself.
Hannah starts off by saying that if you are listening to the tapes, that you in someway contributed to her suicide. Clay cannot believe this. He liked Hannah. A lot. For a long time. He couldn't even bring himself to believe the rumours about her reputation.
Jay Asher has penned a compulsively readable, if sad, book. The reader wants and needs to know as badly as Clay does, what brought Hannah to the point where she thought there were no other options. Each person, each reason, brings to light life in highschool. Every action does have a reaction, and many times, it will not be the one that you expect.
You read Hannah's words in italics, and Clay's reactions all around them. You feel like you really are inside Clay's thought process, and this is what makes this title so strong for me. How can you say this without sounding crass...it's a fresh look at suicide. In the end the reader (or at least the adult reader) is left with the sinking feeling that Hannah's life wasn't all that bad. She would have come out of all of it in time. But we must remember, or try to, what it is like to be really in it. And in high school.