Thirteen Reasons is the story of Hannah Baker and as the book title suggests, 13 reasons why she died. All these reasons are in fact related to 13 people who helped her reach the state she did-the state where she felt like she had no other choice but to take her own life. Before she commits suicide, all the people who were somehow responsible for it were sent a set of tapes so that the person knows how much his/ her actions affected Hannah.
Whenever I hear somebody committed suicide, my first thought is obviously “Why?”, followed by thoughts like how can something this trivial force someone to take his/ her own life and leave so many unanswered questions and blame games behind. But it’s almost never one thing; it’s never “just” or “trivial”. It’s a culmination of many incidents and as Hannah says “A snowball effect”. Thirteen Reasons Why shows exactly that, the other side of suicide, something which we would probably never get to see or should see.
Hannah Baker is the new girl in town and like everyone else she finds it difficult to fit in. Hannah has left her own town and with that her old life which was filled with rumors and she hopes to start with a fresh slate. But things don’t turn out how she wants them to. Rumors follow her in the new town as well, trusts are broken, games are played and at one point Hannah doesn’t feel safe anymore, neither in her school nor at home.
Clay Jensen is one of the guys who gets the set of tapes. The book is an intermingled narrative between Hannah’s voice in the tape and Clay’s thought process or rather his reactions to it. It helps the reader get a different perspective on Hannah’s story. It also made it difficult for me to get into the story. The moment I felt I was getting involved in what Hannah was saying Clay would come up with totally unrelated things to say, not always unrelated, but many times. I know Clay’s perspective was important too, but it wasn’t done as well as it could have.
The writing was okay. In fact I really didn’t think I was going to like this book at all. Some where after the first 100 pages, the book really picks up pace. But I feel the power of the book lies in the story, in the message. To some people it will help realize how even their smallest of actions could affect someone’s psyche if it was fragile enough. Teenagers usually tend to be insensitive and wrapped up in their own world, it would hopefully make them realize that everyone’s worlds are overlapped and some things could have greater consequences than they realized. But on the other hand, it does not provide any hope to people who are probably thinking of giving up on the world like Hannah.
I would say it’s a good book which would probably be great for teenagers and adults as well.