Saturday, December 27, 2008

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

A while ago, softdrink posted a review for this book. As always, she brought in a whole new innovative approach to the review and I loved the sound of the book right away. I even mentioned that in her comments. Being the sweetheart that she is, she sent me her copy of the book!:) Thank you so much softdrink! I totally appreciate your kind gesture!

And of course, no review can even match hers. So head over to her blog immediately and check out her awesome review before coming back here to see my thoughts.

The book was just what I expected it to be – different, interesting and thought provoking. It is not a friendly cheerful book – not when the title “Thirteen Reasons Why” refers to the reasons why a school girl eventually commits suicide. A couple of weeks after Hannah Baker commits suicide Clay Jensen returns from school to find a package addressed to him by his front door. It is a shoe box with 7 cassette tapes. The box is sent by Hannah to the first person on her list – Justin Foley – Cassette 1 – Side A. And then is passed on in order to the 13 people who figure on the list. The Baker’s Dozen. Clay realizes that he’s received the box because he is on the list and he cannot figure out why!

With a map of the city and Hannah’s voice as his tour guide, Clay sets out for what would turn out to be one of the most memorable nights of his life – not necessarily in the good sense. And just like Clay, who just cannot get himself to put the tape down, you won’t be able to put the book down. I can assure you that much!

Jay Asher is a fantastic writer and it is tough to believe that this is his debut novel. Though it is a YA novel, I think it has something for people of all ages and I am sure it will also appeal to people of all ages. I got this book on Saturday and I was stuck to it throughout the weekend. I couldn’t put it down until I had turned the last page.

One thing I must mention here is that though the book revolves around one word – suicide, it is not a gloomy, morose book. Jay even manages to make you laugh sometimes.

And another thing that I have to definitely mention is the fact that the book is incredibly perceptive. Jay describes the sequence of events that eventually lead Hannah to do what she did. Some of the events are pretty minor – a rumor, a snicker, a joke, a pat. And some are a little more serious – back-biting, deceiving, taking advantage of, etc… but as you can nothing out of the ordinary - Nothing that doesn’t happen to every one of us. And yet, some of us let it affect it, some don’t. Some of the affected choose not to do anything about it, while there are some, like Hannah, who take extreme steps.

I think that this book is extremely important in that, it makes us realize that it is totally necessary to pay attention to small details and help kids when we can. Personally, this book affected me more than I would have liked it to. Those who know me personally know what I am talking about. It is hard not to think about how the world would be so much better if any single person who decides to take his/her life, leaves behind a note (or even a series of tapes) telling you why they eventually decided to do such a thing. Suicide is a very painful thing to go through – for everyone involved. It is an end without a closure – with so many unanswered questions and unsaid words. Nobody should have to go through it and this book gives us hope. It brings the message that if you are attentive, you can help more than you think you can!

Read this book! (I cannot give a stronger recommendation!)


Nymeth said...

I will read it. This is one of the books I have lined up for the challenge in Dewey's memory and I can't wait to get to it. Excellent review, Ramya.

tanabata said...

I hope you're having a lovely holiday!

Thanks for the great review! I've heard lots of good things about this book and it's on my wishlist. :)

Literary Feline said...

This does sound like a very powerful book. Thank you for the great review, Ramya!

Priya Iyer said...

sounds like something i would like to read.. will give it a shot sometime! thanks! :)

bermudaonion said...

I want to read this book!

regularrumination said...

My 13 year old sister recommended this book to me and I think I'm going to take her up on it after reading your review.

I've been looking through your blog and I'm definitely going to be visiting again. You've got some great reviews!

- L

softdrink said...

A wonderful review, as usual. :-)

Dar said...

I've wanted to read this one since reading Jill's review so this is already on the list. Sounds like it touched you personally. Books like that always leave an imprint don't they?