Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers 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.
Please bear with me, I might tend to babble or rant depending on how you look at it.
So I'm sitting here trying to gather my thoughts about this book and this is hard one for me, normally when I read it's because I want to escape the reality of life for a few hours. Thirteen Reasons Why is a book that does the complete opposite of that, it throws the very real reality of teen suicide right in your face. I knew what I was getting into when I decided to read this, and I also knew no matter how compelling or well written the story was it wasn't going to leave me with a positive feeling, it was just too heavy of a subject matter for that.
The story is told in the dual narratives of both Hannah and Clay. While Hannah explains her reasons for my she decided to end her life through a series of 7 cassette tapes and 13 stories. When Clay listens to the tapes we get his reaction to the event along with his perspective of some of them. The story is really well written as you get an understanding of both characters feeling and emotional states as the story progresses. At the beginning I really wanted to know what Clay had done to Hannah to end up on her list of reasons, but the more I got into the story what I really wanted was Hannah to fight. I wanted the end to be different, a mistake and that Hannah wasn't really dead, that she didn't succeed in ending her own life. That's not what happens and it's made very clear when the book starts that Hannah is gone, that end would cheapen the story as it is not one that should have a happy ending even if it is what I want.
I read a lot of reviews where people don't think Hannah's reason were good enough ones to make her want to kill herself , and maybe if you look at them individually they're not, but when you look at them as a whole you can start to realize how each one of them damaged her mental state. While some people may think it was vindictive of her to send the tapes to the people on her list I don't think it was, it would have been more vindictive if she would have released the tapes publicly. I think she wanted to get the point across to the people on the tapes that no matter how insignificant you think your action are that they may deeply affect another person.
While the subject matter is a sensitive subject Asher doesn't glorify suicide in any way, and instead possibly makes the reader assess how they treat others. It's a story that will stick with you for some time after you finish it. It would be my hope that anyone suffering with suicidal thoughts would find someone, anyone to talk to about it as there is nothing in life so bad that you should want to end it.