Thursday, November 6, 2008

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

“When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recounting the events leading up to her death.”

I was completely taken with this book. I also listened to it on tape with was powerful because I felt like Clay listening to Hannah’s last words. What happens to Hannah Baker happens to many teenage girls. Many of my co-workers have read the book and we all have had similar experiences to Hannah growing up. Stupid boys who don’t know the effects their “funny” pranks, false friends, true friends, and clueless guidance counselors.

What then makes Hannah so different than all of us? Nothing, really except she chose to handle things the only way she knew. People may wonder if this book promotes suicide. I don’t think it does, in fact I think it relays the message of loneliness and isolation, but that each story has another side and if you can trust just one person things could be different. Taking your life is shocking, but knowing why someone did is even more so. The book would be a great way to talk to your middle/high schooler about suicide. I would suggest that parents read it first or together making it easier to discuss and there are many intense scenes so it would be good to have a plan going into it.

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