‘Thirteen reasons why’ by Jay Asher is a poignant story of love and uncertainty that is surely going to have a deep impact on the reader. The inspiration for the book came to the author from his personal experience with an audio guide in the museum which he had visited during his high school days. The intent of the book is beautifully summarized in these lines,
“You can’t stop the future, you can’t rewind the past, the only way to learn the secret is to press play”.
Thirteen reasons why is a moving story of Hannah Baker who commits suicide at a very young age and records the thirteen reasons why she committed suicide on an audio tape. This audio tape comes to Clay Jensen, Hannah’s classmate, and her secret crush. And the reasons that Hannah narrates in the audio tape changes Clay’s life forever. He listens to those thirteen reasons to unravel that he was a part of the cause as well. As he moves from place to place with Hannah’s record playing, he comes closer to knowing Hannah, her pain, and her experience. In this journey of discovering Hannah, he discovers himself!
He finds out the truth about himself, a fact which he would have preferred to remain ignorant about. The readers have to find out for themselves the thirteen reasons why Hannah committed suicide. This discovery will unwind some bitter truths about moral values, peer pressure, the strain in friendships and how everything culminated as she succumbed to suicide. It is a heartwarming story about depression, dark secrets and repercussions of an over-burdened heart and the ill-effects of having an inability to speak up.
When I sat down to write a review after reading this book, I found that it was a bit difficult to frame my thoughts. For me, it was definitely a mixed bag of emotions. The book’s theme is teenage suicide, where a teenage girl ends her life and instead of writing a suicide note, she records tapes citing her reasons (persons) which lead her to take the drastic step.
No doubt, the concept of the novel is very original and gives a glimpse into what goes on in the mind of a depressed and suicidal person, but somehow the tapes acted as a part of a revenge and blame game part from the girl for me. Don’t get me wrong, the people who she blames for her downward spiral were all awful to her. But she wasn’t the only person in the school tormented by these people.
Apart from my personal viewpoint, the message this book definitely showed was that even small things we do (or don’t do) can have a huge impact on somebody else’s life, and that sometimes we should take more time to try to understand the people we deal with every day – be it at school or somewhere else.