Thirteen Reasons Why

December 30, 2016

Author: Jay Asher


You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package 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. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever. (Published summary.)

My Thoughts:

I didn’t like this book at all. It’s obviously not meant to be an easy read, but a painful, thought-provoking book – I certainly found it painful, but not so much thought-provoking in the right ways. I would agree with those (numerous) fellow readers who thought it glamorizes suicide in a certain way, through the implicit changes wrought by the end, and moreover gives a rather unrealistic portrayal of a suicidal person.

Content Review:

Sexual content: Girl tells about her first kiss – and about the rumors that went around suggesting rather more than what actually happened. List gets passed around school titled “who’s hot/who’s not”. Two girls in a bedroom think there’s a peeping tom outside – they go through some acting-innuendo (one pretending to give the other a sensual backrub, suggesting they ‘have some more fun’ later) then fling open the curtains and catch the boy half-undressed. One girl lies that another girl’s “got some surprises buried in her dresser drawer” this in a sexual connotation. In a rather strange, confusing (at least to me) scene the MC, having basically given up, ‘allows’ herself to be raped. (?) (She doesn’t want sexual intercourse with the boy, but doesn’t flee his advances. Has basically given up on life at this point.) See ‘Violence’ for more sexual violence.

Language: 4 hell, 2 scatological terms, 2 d***

Violence: One fistfight. Girl speaks of her guilt in being aware of a rape and doing nothing to stop it – she does not see the act, but POV character does hear it. (So semi-onscreen sexual violence). Off-screen, technically before the book proper begins, a character commits suicide.

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