TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY, by Jay Asher
The Down and Dirty
Hannah is dead at the tender age of 16. Tragically, she took her own life. But she's left something behind: a box of thirteen audio tapes that she hopes will explain the reasons she chose to kill herself.
The Literary Criticism
Thirteen Reasons Why is Jay Asher's debut novel that deals with some powerful subject matter: teen suicide. I was prepared for preachy. I was prepared for condescension. But I wasn't prepared for what I actually read, which turned out to be a brutally honest exploration of both the victim and those left behind (he invalidates neither) wondering why and how such a thing could have happened.
Author Jay Asher has a rare, special touch with his readers. He actually understands that most mysterious and elusive of creatures: the teenager. Hannah's reasons for killing herself would appear, to most adults, inconsequential. But Asher understands that her reasons are very, very real to a teenager and he treats them with the seriousness they deserve. Likewise, he is able to convey the angst of her classmates who are left feeling confused, guilty and vulnerable while they try to make sense of the tragedy.
And yet Asher is still able to subtly provide answers and lessons, including our moral responsibilities to our fellow human beings, the subtle signs of suicide and how we unknowingly exacerbate it.
Looking back, I stopped writing in my notebook when I stopped wanting to know myself anymore.
Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
Perhaps the most powerful scene in the novel revolves around Hannah's last effort to reach out for help from her high school guidance counselor. Asher brilliantly depicts a counselor who wants so badly to help Hannah, but simply cannot because of his inability to see the problem through the eyes of a teenage girl.
There is, as it turns out, no one person to blame for a tragedy like this. Anyone could have stopped it along the way, but tragically no one did.
Very highly recommended for both teens and adults. If you have a teen in mind for this book, I would recommend that you (or better yet, their parents) read it first to ensure that the seriousness of the subject matter is, in your view, appropriate for them.
Don't miss the author's awesome blog, The Disco Mermaids!
Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Date: October 18, 2007
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