Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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Synopsis: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several 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. Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Intro:

Whenever I go to the mall alone, the only place that remains constant for me to go to is a bookstore. Being the bookworm that I am, I always like to check out what’s the latest on the best-seller list. Yesterday, I did my usual routine.

And even though I still have a couple of books lined up for me to read, I can’t help but pick up an interesting book to add to my to-read list. Anyway, I spent some time looking through the best-seller display and saw some really interesting titles, but my budget is limited for a single less-than-500-bucks book so I really wanted to get a good one.

Anyway, to cut the story short, I found Thirteen Reasons Why, not on the best-seller display, but on the normal young-adult shelf of Powerbooks. The book cover really intrigued me so I picked up my Blackberry and did a quick Google on the title. Apparently, this was on the NY Times best-seller list in 2009 and a movie about it is on the way with Selena Gomez as the lead character! Interesting. So I bought a copy.

β–Ί

First of all, I really don’t know why I have read about this book just now. Seriously, I wanted to kick myself esp when I saw that this book was released in 2007! Where was I the whole time?? Anyway, I am glad I finally did. This book made an impact on me and I am so grateful to have such a meaningful and inspiring read. Jay Asher did a wonderful job in telling a story so powerful that it will really make anyone reflect on the way they treat others.

In this book, the author presents the dark side of teen life: sex, underage drinking, rumors, bullying, absent parents and the mean spirit that surrounds the general high school student body. Though it may sound as a chick flick for some of you, the book actually digs deep into all those and how it all played out to the demise of our protagonist, Hannah Baker. And even though this is a story about teen suicide, it centers around the fact that what we do or don’t do, affects other people’s lives. Hannah warns that we must “be careful how you treat people,” and that inaction — whether to stop a crime or a rumor or talk to a troubled friend — can be just as damaging as deliberately inflicting pain.

Reading the book made me so guilty about how I was back in high school (aka bully/half-bitch) and I suddenly prayed I didn’t cause anyone serious mental depression (I gulped hard while reading Courtney Crimsen’s story). What if there was a Hannah Baker in my class back then? What if I unconciously did something to someone that caused them pain? I will never forgive myself. But hey, I think I was not that bad. People generally liked me back then. *cross-fingers*

Anyway, it didn’t take me long to love Clay Jensen’s character. He’s one of the 13 people that played a part in Hannah’s death and we listen to the tapes through his ears. The story is very fast-paced and oftentimes I found myself holding my breath whenever Clay flips through the cassette to introduce the new person responsible for Hannah’s death. The book is impossible to put down, I tell you.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a devastating story about depression caused by abuse, bullying and lack of support that is often experienced by teens nowadays. I have heard several real-life stories about teen suicide due to loneliness and it is saddening to realize that we could’ve done something to help them. It highlights the importance of how “everything affects everything” and that every little thing we do has a snowball effect.

This book has inspired me to be cautious about how I treat people and how my words and actions influence the people around me. The message is pretty simple: Do not wait for people to come to you for help. Open your eyes and be very wary of your actions. And I fully intend to do that moving forward.

I absolutely recommend this book to teens and adults alike. A book worthy of analysis and discussion. Well done, Jay Asher.

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0 Comments
  • Edward

    Reply

    Hi Kat,
    I'm good, I'm more pre-occupied with work these days but I wont ever miss a chance to check your blog. Its great to know your working on a new post and i would certainly love to read it when its out. πŸ™‚

    I hope all is well with you too but just in case you got those moments where you feel the world is closing in on you, just drop me an email @ just_call_me_ed@yahoo.com or look for me here in your own blog πŸ™‚ and ill be all ears to everything you have to say. πŸ™‚

    Cheers my friend and all the best to you. Keep moving forward πŸ™‚

    kinds,
    Ed

  • Kat

    Reply

    Hey edward!

    I have a book in progress right now but its an old book so I'm still thinking if I'm gonna post a review. πŸ™‚

    But I am working on a new post prolly this week πŸ™‚

    Thanks for regularly checking my blog!!! Hope all is well with you!! πŸ™‚

  • Edward

    Reply

    Ey, how are things going? Any new book up for review? πŸ™‚

  • Edward

    Reply

    Hi Kat,
    Its ok, no worries. Thank you for your reply. I know your a busy person and thank you for giving the answer. It means so much to me. I guess I just did not understand the silence. Somethings are really best left unsaid. I hope you'll have a blast of a weekend since its a friday. A good person like you deserves more than a pat on the back. πŸ™‚

    Just like I said, maybe I was too focused at my cause that I was not able to see some possible repercussions that my friend saw. Or maybe I just missed the times we were able to speak with each other and share things that one day we wasn't able to do anymore.

    Thank you Kat, its funny how a simple hello or reply can make someone happy.

    enjoy your weekend,

    Simply,
    Ed.

  • Kat

    Reply

    Hey Edward,

    Sorry for the late response. Anyway, I think you did the right thing. As an outsider, there is only so much we can do when it comes to offering help — that is to let them know that we are here for them. Sad to say but sometimes pushing yourself too much to help someone might do worse than good.

    I'm glad it all turned out okay though. I strongly believe in the power of prayers. You are a good person, you shouldn't doubt yourself even just for a minute. πŸ™‚

    All the best,
    Kat

  • Edward

    Reply

    Hi Kat,

    I hope you had a great weekend coz work comes again this monday (sigh). Oh dear, and I can tell that to myself too. I had asked you that question because I myself was on a similar situation — but I was the one who was reaching out.

    I was wonderin' to get your opinion on how the other party (the one I was reaching out to) would react. I was actually even not sure if it was even noticed at the least. Well, to give you an Idea, I have been acquainted to this person a few years back. And at the time I was struggling with a career. I was a high roller before but somehow Time did catch up with me that I would settle for any paying job this world has to offer.

    At this new found work I met people that wasn't really exactly the ones that can relate to how boring I am. And I was just concerned with the paycheck. So it was WORK = PAY = HOME, thats it. Along the process I saw this colleague who somehow caught my attention and since then I was observing. Sometimes I would try to be friendly and open a conversation but somewhere along I would always hit a brick wall higher than china. πŸ™‚ It was like a maze I can't figure out.

    But one thing is for sure, this person is going through something. I really don't know what it is but sometimes I would notice this person sobbing or frowning and at times lost in sadness. It was not always this way though, there were times I would hear or see that this person is all of a sudden the heart of a gig, party, crowds, places and sometimes even in the office this person would not care what impression others may think seeing this person's mind blowing activities in facebook.

    In short Kat I was seeing this person destroying its life in what seems to be happiness in disguise. And honestly speaking, I saw myself in the same shoes years back so I figured to give a helping hand. Being one of the friends, I tried to be close, to earn the trust and somehow provide help/guidance someday in my own little way. Perhaps if I had the chance to talk and spent time It would have been great. At first things was going well, we talked, we went on some simple place we can have a small chat. I was hopeful that time that I had the chance to pursuade this person to change for the better.

    But time and luck wasnt really on my side and one day this person wasnt that really interested I guess or was I just too focused at my cause that I may have given an impression for this person to move away. Upto now — I still dont know. Then an event was coming, sort of a get together for the new guys and I was hopefull that I may have a chance to talk to this person at that time. I was happy and this time I was planning to be more candid in trying to reach out but to my surprise the person wasnt coming. Even when I tried to pursuade this fellow with wry jokes to make this person comfortable — I was shouted at. I guess it was just a bad day.

    Day and day passed by, we hardly talked and unfortunately one day something happened that I was not able to come back. I included that person to my prayers and since I was not able anymore to offer protection, I included this fellow in my prayers that somehow may happiness find this good christian soul.

    But you know what my prayers were answered coz I learned from a friend one day that this person did change for the better, it took a while but it was answered.

    So what do you think Kat, was I too pushy? or did I really gave a wrong impression?

    cheers,
    Ed

  • Kat

    Reply

    Hi again,

    Any blogger would be happy to have someone who appreciates their writing that is why I will never get tired reading your replies. πŸ™‚

    Anyway, yes I have been in that kind of situation before though thankfully the repercussions weren't that huge. That is also the reason why the book made an impact on me Reading the book though made me realize how much we affect others — whether we do something to them or we don't.

  • Edward

    Reply

    Hi Kat, Good Evening πŸ™‚ I just want you to say thanks for spending the time. And that yes you had shed light to someone out there who happens to be me. Well, now you know your not the only one trying to escape the daily stress of life. I find it indeed relieving and somewhat brings happiness knowing you listen to the things I say.

    I hope I dont take much of your time reading this, and I hope you dont get tired of checking my replies.

    "I’m older, wiser and happier" — And I'm happy for you Kat.. Im sure this will be your key to a successful life and as talented as you are, it wont be long till you get there.

    But Going back to the book, have you ever been in a situation where a friend tried to reach for you but somehow you may not have noticed and never did reached back?

  • Kat

    Reply

    Hello again Ed,

    I used to be an open book, but not that much anymore. If you will check the older entries here in my blog, most of them are personal stuff (2009 & older). This was back when no one really pays attention to my blog and I use writing as my way to reduce stress. See, I was a lonely teenager and it is only through blogging that I was able to express my emotions. It helps me to reflect on my life.

    Now that I'm older, wiser and happier — my writing has become less than personal but still 100% me. My blog doesn't have a theme whatsoever so I just write whatever that comes to my mind. Apart from reading, blogging for me is an escape with all the pressures life has to offer. I'd go crazy without it!

    Beyond all that, I guess part of me also believes that if I can reflect on things in my own life and share it with others, maybe it will help someone else reflect on their own life. Maybe it will shed a little light into a dark room for someone out there. Who knows.

    All the best,
    Kat

  • Edward

    Reply

    Haha, πŸ™‚ Im glad you got entertained. Well, now I know that if I write a book, Someone, atleast would get it πŸ™‚ I tried to browse on some of your pages and I could not help but ask why did you prefer to be an open book? Its like your whole life's story is here in the internet.

    best regards,
    Ed

  • Kat

    Reply

    Wow you had a very interesting childhood! How can you climb mountains at 8yrs old?? And bboys? Haha, seriously? Lol. Anyway, it sure sounds you had a great life and I wish you'd get inspired in writing a book sometime. And who knows maybe I get to review it one day. πŸ˜‰

    Cheers,
    Kat

  • Edward

    Reply

    Hmmmm, maybe. But Im not as talented as you though and sometimes I find myself lost for words. But if I would write something in a book, I would be writing something about LIFE. Unlike other people, mine is a bit complicated yet interesting. I would love to share who I was as a kid, the happiness, the pain, the adventures, the curiosity, the crushes, the friends and the whole wonder years I had that I still can remember until now.

    It all started when I was in Grade 3 before I had these set of friends and we called ourselves B-Boys. We had our tag names such as me being B-E, My friend mark as B-M, Dennis as B-D and my friend Jun that had the most unfortunate tag name as B-J hehehe. We had our sets of laugh, fights and most of all the unforgettable adventures. You can compare our experiences with such movies like "Stand By Me". As 8 year olds would you believe we climb mountains? Well not the steep ones — this had roads we can walk with but still it was a hike for us. We would setup camps and talk about the teachers we hate and the girls we like, listen to music as we lay down on the ground staring at the stars.

    As we aged, we learn to appreciate music and we went to Disco Clubs and danced all night. This was one of the greatest adventures we had. We met friends and went places far more than we expected then we transitioned to Rap music where we often went to creekside near Virramall to watch all the slammed down cars and the sound system they had. We also appreciated rock but not the usual ones, we would listen to music such as songs like "Down in Mexico" by the coasters" because we want to be different and funky. These was the rolling stones era of my life and this was where I got myself into trouble and it took me a while before I got into my senses, but thank God I did.

    It was all colorful Kat that it had it own share of Life's blessing and Pain. It is also full of lessons that other people can learn from. For some, yes I do regret things that I had done but I am thankful for all the lessons I learned and the people I met and all the experiences I had. It was one of my great journey indeed, it is still something that puts a smile in my face whenever I try to remember. — and this is just a synopsis of everything πŸ™‚

    I hope your still there. Are you still there? Still awake? Well lets call it a day, I know your tired. Its been always nice chatting with you. Thank you for the time.

  • Kat

    Reply

    I do have the passion to read, but unfortunately, I do not have the imagination and the discipline for book writing! Freestyle writing is something I enjoy, but creating a whole world and story based on my thoughts is something that could take forever to do.

    I'll just leave that to the extremely talented writers. πŸ˜‰ what about you, have you considered writing a book? πŸ™‚

  • Edward

    Reply

    Kat Im just curious, have you ever thought of writing a book yourself? You do have the passion to read and the skills to write as well.

  • Kat

    Reply

    Thanks Ed, I did have a rough teenage life and I'm glad I turned out fine despite everything I went through. Like you said, it's all in the past now and all we can do is to use these experiences as lessons in life. Don't get me wrong, I still make mistakes now, but unlike before, I do think the consequences of my every action and I take responsibility for them as well.

    "Its always better to pay it forward." — I couldn't agree more.

    All the best,
    Kat

  • Edward

    Reply

    True. With experience we learn a lot about life and the persons we meet along the way. I am very happy on how you look at things nowadays and I'm sure that is why you're so blessed with everything that is happening in your life. I do agree that what we do or how we act does affect other people. That we have to be sensitive enough to know if we had caused pain.

    I myself had my share of the "not so good" this life has to offer. I personally enjoyed it during my youth and all I can think of was partying till the break of dawn. I had done some crazy things and in the process I know I had offended some people without even knowing it. At the time i was always with the "in crowd" and would play jokes and make fun out of other kids just because they were weak or just because they were just too simple for me.

    But all of these are with my past now. Its very unfortunate that we get to learn about these things as we mature. Is it the adrenaline of our youth? or the sudden burst of energy I had during those days or was I myself in pain — I personally don't know, maybe all of the above. But one thing is for sure, most people who know me now would not even have a clue who I was before.

    That is why I try my best nowadays to pass the knowledge to each person I meet. The younger the better so I may somehow enlighten them in my own little way about life's basket of tricks that somehow I could redeem myself and somehow change their ways for the better.

    I know you had some crossroads or forks in your life. And I'm glad you chose the right path. Your not the only one Kat but its sure nice to know that you have realized it sooner than I did.

    Its always better to pay it forward.

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