Sunday, August 09, 2015

Charli Muses: When YA Turns to Suicide {Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher}

You can't stop the future.
You can't rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home to find a strange package with his name on it. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and first love – who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

Hannah's voice explains there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why.

All through the night, Clay keeps listening – and what he discovers changes his life... forever.

Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Penguin UK
Date of Publication: This Edition 2009
Pages: 297
Source: Bought
Goodreads | Amazon

**Trigger warning for suicide, rape / Spoiler warning for most of book**

I read this book yesterday, and I was so mystified and annoyed at it that I felt like I finally wanted to review a book! I haven't done that since April, so it did something good, I guess.

SO much hype surrounds Thirteen Reasons Why; it's why I picked it up in the first place. Some of my friends have read it and absolutely loved it. But... there's so much that's wrong with it. And I didn't realise some of the things that were wrong until I finished it.

It's worth baring in mind that I didn't hate this book, I've rated it a solid half rating. Before we get in to what I think this book does in terms of being damaging, let's talk writing. I'm just going to say it: split monologue narration? Get out. Reading a line of Hannah's tape and then a line of Clay talking about something just annoyed me no end.

So let's discuss what's wrong with this book. I put this down and I thought, simply, this book puts some sort of glamour over suicide. I didn't want to express this opinion till I saw someone agree, but a lot of Goodreads consensus says the same, so there it is.

I will never, ever knock anyone's reasons for mental illness, PTSD and etcetera. But Hannah? I don't see it. I just don't. Her reasons? No.

Not to mention the tapes. When someone dies or commits suicide at such a young age, the knock on effect is horrific. It's so, so awful. Every single person who knows them blames themself. It tears them apart for weeks on end. And Hannah? She does this to these people who receive these tapes. The people who receive the tapes will feel harrowed for the rest of their lives.

And maybe she wants this. Maybe she wants them to feel this way. But why take this sort of course of revenge if you aren't there to see it? Why ruin lives further? Some of the people on these tapes didn't do anything! Hannah watched her friend get raped and didn't do a thing. Like, what? I was so stunned. I skipped a few pages because of how physically uncomfortable the idea of this made me. 

Hannah kills herself, effectively, because of rumours and boys being mean to her. I want to see the genders reversed and see how many people call this book a Bible of talking about suicide. I want to see it. No one would buy it. Because people don't see that boys are mentally ill too.

I think this book was written because Asher wanted it to be an important book. And that's fine. But realistically, this book doesn't do it.

Perhaps it's because this book is from 2007, of course - but being suicidal will always be the same. And I honestly think, with Hannah's reasons, there are teens out there who will think they're "meant" to be suicidal, because of similar experiences.

Perhaps I am bitter about this book because my best friend had her life taken away and she didn't deserve it, because I suffer myself, because a lot of my friends suffer. But this book? This book makes me uncomfortable about other books trying to tackle the subject.

1 comment:

  1. I recently got this book from a charity shop and now that I know what's inside this book, I don't think I'm interested in reading it at all. From experiences involving myself or friends when it comes to mental health, this is a cruel way reflecting suicide.


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