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Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
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Thirteen Reasons Why (edition 2007)

by Jay Asher

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8,692666553 (3.94)246
Member:EllenAllen
Title:Thirteen Reasons Why
Authors:Jay Asher
Info:Razorbill (2007), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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» See also 246 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 650 (next | show all)
OK, let me start by saying I read this book because I've been affected by suicide. It's a grim, depressing subject. However, I am a firm believer that we have to raise suicide awareness. And let me also say that I've had a hard time writing a review for this book.

Part of me feels that in the wrong hands, this book would guide a vulnerable mind in the wrong direction. The book screams take your own life but point the finger at all the terrible people in your life first. How is that helpful? And when she finally turns to an authority figure, she doesn't get help. Although I know some people don't "hear" what's being said, this was a teacher who should be trained for this type of thing. How is that offering options or raising awareness?

The other part of me recognises that the book is trying to say that it's usually not one big thing that pushes someone to suicide but many things that, together and over time, make you feel numb and lost. Which in turn, takes aware the feeling that there are other options. And we mustn't overlook the other lesson to be learned here; consequences. We must be aware that what we say and do to others has consequences. A joke is only a joke if all parties know it's a joke. Ultimately, we are all in charge of our own decision making and must live with the consequences.

And yet another part of me is whispering that the book isn't meant to focus on Hannah's suicide, it was meant to focus on the reason she is telling these people what their part in her decision was; and it was her hope that knowing this reason would change the person's outlook on life and the way they interact with others. In other words, make them a better person. The ending of the book proves that at least one person did see the error of their ways and change.

In all honesty, I didn't mind the book whilst reading it, but now I have to think about how the book would be received by someone with suicidal thoughts, and I must admit that worries me. I usually talk about character building, plot lines and the author's style of writing when writing reviews, but on this occasion none of that seems relevant.

It's a well written book, but my gut tells me that the wrong message has taken the highlighted position, which is a shame.

I originally gave this book 4 out of 5 stars, but having written this review and gotten my head around what the book delivered, I feel I have to lower that rating to 3 out of 5 stars. ( )
  KarenLeeField | Mar 13, 2019 |
Full disclosure: I work in college mental health and have seen a fair number of suicidal people, so I'm likely not approaching this topic as a layperson would. I actually picked up this book because our staff has heard a number of students mentioning it with the release of the TV series, so like with Twilight and 50 Shades I thought it was worthwhile reading to be able to understand students' context.

As for the book itself, I thought the use of audiotapes and the alternating narration was a good device for the plot, and it was quite effective as an audiobook. I also appreciated the way the author illustrated how there often isn't one sole thing people can point to as a primary stressor or impetus for suicidality; it's more often a constellation of moderate stressors that leave people feeling trapped and hopeless.

I don't think the book glamorized suicide, which is one of the criticisms I've frequently seen. Rather, I think it plays into the pathology of people who may inclined toward un/intentional manipulation of others, push/pull dynamics in their interpersonal relationships, and self-harm/suicide as a form of revenge by validating their actions. I don't think people who are disinclined to those kinds of behaviors will pick them up after reading the book, but I do think people are already inclined to those behaviors may see the book as justification for their own actions.

Hannah's goals were somewhat unclear, and I'm not certain if that was an issue with writing logistics (i.e., if she wanted people to know about how their individual actions affected her she'd have seen each person one tape, which may have difficult to write around) or with characterization (i.e., given the intensity of her emotions, it likely would have made more sense for her to release the tapes widely for more public punishment for those who hurt her). Perhaps she simply wanted to express herself, and her confusion about how to do that was passed on to the reader.

I'm glad I read this and I'll likely give the TV series a shot. I think a good takeaway from this book, and others like it, is to allow them to be jumping off points for conversations. And that's not because reading a book like this is a foolproof indicator of suicidality, but because it offers an entry point into a topic that can be difficult to discuss and is rarely addressed in day-to-day conversation. ( )
  mediumofballpoint | Mar 4, 2019 |
I'm bumping this up to 3 star, yes I hated this story but it did exactly what it was trying to do. Make me hate the main character. I hated her... good job


I give it two stars for being an interesting idea with using audio tapes to document the ordeal before a Suicide. This topic is never easy and it makes some sad and some mad. Everyone has mixed feelings but it will always be a concept for a book. That's not going to change.

Now this part is what I thought of the book as a story, Hannah is a bully. She is dead and she uses these tapes she has made to bring down students in her school because it is in her head that they helped her decide to take her life. (See that part there, they helped her). I have a problem with that. Don't blame others for your actions. Honestly the person I was most concerned with was the one who was raped. The story kept leading to a secret that made Hannah decide to take her life. And that was the rape scene she witnessed? The one that she hid in the closet and did not even try to stop? This scene got less attention than any story line in this book. What I wanted to see in this story was the ordeal Hannah felt but not to the extreme of her shaming her classmates into the idea that this was all their fault. Hannah had plenty of opportunities to correct some of this, she says so in the tapes and this is part of the story that upsets me she never took consequences for her own actions. It's like telling some one before you die "I always hated you but pretended to be your friend" Why say that? unless you are just a mean ass person and you think that your soul will rest easy if you do. It won't you just disrupted that persons life and you are dead and can't even enjoy it. That was not nice of me to say. I'm one of the ones that suicide makes mad. I have my reasons.
( )
  greergreer | Mar 1, 2019 |
I... I'm not quite sure how I feel. I read it quite quickly. I liked it, but I feel like it was missing something. It has very dark, sad subject matter, but I loved the last book I read (Love Is the Higher Law) and it had sad subject matter as well. The difference between these two books, though, is that I finished Love Is the Higher Law - and even It's Kind of a Funny Story, which is also about a suicidal teen - feeling uplifted, and I finished this feeling like I just read a good story, but emotionally deflated. I suppose that's fitting though. It's real. ( )
  paperbuildings | Jan 20, 2019 |
This book tacked a very serious subject about suicide. A girl inside this book ended her own life in the prime of her life, and she left thirteen tapes to explain why she did that. The tapes were about how she was wronged and the struggles she went through and in the end swallowed pills to end her life. This was a very sad story as she was pushed to this point bit by bit. She didn't receive help until it was too late.
The author wrote this book about such a taboo subject, and it was overall a sad book. The entire story was delivered in a sad atmosphere. Which made us think about how suicide will impact the people around us, and how by ending one's misery multiplies other's misery. This book also makes us think about what we do will impact the people in our lives without knowing it. And how people may be suffering and won't tell anyone.
This book is sad, makes us think, and definitely doesn't glamorise suicide. On the contrary, it shows the impact of the other people when someone ends their own life. ( )
  TheAmazingFish | Jan 20, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 650 (next | show all)
Clay Jensen receives a package of tapes in the mail with no return address from one of his classmates Hannah baker who had killed herself two weeks before as he struggles to hear the tapes of Hannah he also follows this map that Hannah had put in his locker a week before she committed Suicide as clay travels star to star he hears the stories of people who have hurt Hannah. And drove her to kill herself you only hear the tapes if you had something to do with it so if you don't pass the tapes on they will be release to everyone clay listens to the tapes and he fails to see who he can trust person by person clay has some type of incounterment with everyone else on the tapes and trays to help Hannah out with the last tape she couldn't get around to
added by Jessalynnbanks | editNew York Times, Jessalynn banks
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jay Asherprimary authorall editionscalculated
Johnstone, JoelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiseman, DebraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Sir?" she repeats. "How soon do you want it to get there?"
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But if I wanted a reminder, I could’ve made copies of the tapes or saved the map. But I never want to hear those tapes again, though her voice will never leave my head. And the houses, the streets, and the high school will always be there to remind me.
I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why.
I would have helped her if she’d only let me. I would have helped her because I want her to be alive.
Who am I going to see today? Besides me, eight people at this school have already listened to the tapes. Eight people, today, are waiting to see what the tapes have done to me. And over the next week or so, as the tapes move on, I’ll be doing the same to the rest of them.
''After all, how often do we get a second chance?''
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159514188X, Paperback)

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 learns the truth about himself-a truth he never wanted to face.

Thirteen Reasons Why is the gripping, addictive international bestseller that has changed lives the world over. It's an unrelenting modern classic.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:59 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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