I reviewed Thirteen Reasons Why last year. My review for it is here. Now it is Kim’s turn to review it. We have very differing opinions on this one, which is what I love about book reviews. One person can have one opinion and the next person have a totally different opinion! We all go through life with different experiences which affects how we feel about a book!
Author: Jay Asher
Published: October 18, 2007
Book Summary from Amazon:
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.
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars
I started out this book hating Hannah Baker. A typical selfish high school girl who refused to think about anything other than how life affected her. But my hate has digressed to a simple dislike, the way I dislike most teenagers in general. Because that’s what this book is about: typical teenagers who think that life revolves around them. I was a teenager once and I spent 3 years teaching teenagers. I was bullied in junior high and high school, some of it aggressive, some of it passive. But I have no sympathy for Hannah, or for any of the characters in this book. That’s life! Life isn’t far, so get used to it! Hannah wasn’t the only coward in this book, I’ll admit that. Honestly the only 2 characters I liked were Clay and Mr. Porter. I understood Mr. Porter because I’ve been in his position. He’s not completely off the hook, he probably should have probed a little more, but I refuse to blame him for Hannah’s choice because that’s not fair, just like life. It just amazes me how dramatic teenagers are! And looking back at how dramatic I was before real life kicked me in the butt! If Hannah thought high school boys making a big deal about her ass was a reason she should kill herself, well then she really never would have made it out in the real world! And she never actually said no. Of course the guy was wrong and a pig, but she didn’t say no. What was he supposed to think when she didn’t resist? He’s a teenage jock! He thought she enjoyed it! And oh no! Her friends stopped hanging out with her! Do you know how many friends have come and gone in my life? And how many of them hurt me on their way out?
This is a book about a bunch of stupid teenagers. Nothing more, nothing less. And each generation of teenagers gets dumber and dumber. They are coddled, given their safe spaces, allowed to do whatever they want, never held to a high standard, and they’re all idiots. Whatever happened to “growing up is hard”? My parents told me that. And suicide never once entered my mind in high school. I tell any teenager I know that high school is tough, growing up is tough, life is tough. Just hold your head up, take each problem as it comes, and enjoy the good times, because you’ll have plenty of those too. Normally, I would ask, “where are her parents?”, but in this case, all they really could have done was to tell Hannah that’s she being overdramatic. Her suicide should never have happened because there was no real cause. Teenagers being teenagers. And if teenagers don’t learn to deal with that kind of stupidity, you’ll either have this situation or them growing up to be stupid adults.
I would never allow any kid I know to read this book, in fact, I wouldn’t want most adults I know to read this book. This book teaches that teenagers are whiny, self-centered, and always looking for the easy way out. Nearly every situation in this book is one that we all face on a daily basis. Suicide shouldn’t be a concept that anyone should even consider, let alone introducing it to a kid. I think this book was written for teachers, because I have no problem saying that teachers can never be too aware. Or parents, who never grew out of their teenage ways and try to take the easy way out by letting their kids raise themselves. I’ve seen too many of both groups. But I’ll admit, I read this book in 24 hours because it intrigued me, it was written very well, and I liked the anticipation.