14 Following

Following the Leader (Amber J.)

Just along for the ride

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher I was all prepared to write a "cool" review for this book in list form called "13 Reasons Why I Loved 13 Reasons Why", but I've just noticed the generic question directly above the review box: "What did you think?" -- demanding that I just be open and honest. Sooo...what did I think?I think some books must be read silently in quiet contemplation, others should be read aloud so you can hear your voice sail along with the prose and trip over the punctuation. But then, as I learned with Still Missing, there are books that are best read to you by someone else, and 13 Reasons Why is definitely one of those books. I really like the way the two narrators' voices danced back and forth with Clay interrupting Hannah's tapes/thoughts at the right moments, on the right beat, to tell us how he felt and give his visceral reaction to what she was saying. I also loved that we don't just get hours and hours of Hannah's rambling account, but Clay is there listening right along with us to provide us with info she doesn't include and correct her misinterpretations of his words and actions, to make sure we get an unbiased explanation of those 13 reasons. I can't imagine the words having the same effect on me if I had to read them on paper.I think this book will show girls that not every guy in school is a tool. For every Bryce and Justin, there is also a Clay or Tony -- a boy that is nice and respectful and willing to listen. There are boys that want what's in your pants and there are boys that just want you. This book is a warning of what can happen if you don't love yourself enough to take the time to know the difference.I think this book serves as proof that sticks and stones that break your bones ain't got nothin' on lies and rumors that break hearts and crush spirits and ruin self-esteem. Thirteen Reasons Why demonstrates just how much power we wield with our words. You never know where a person is emotionally or mentally at any given point in their life. Zach's role, albeit minor, gives a perfect example of how the slightest insult or word of encouragement can make or break someone.I think most people that read this book won't be satisfied with the explanation Hannah gives for ending her life. They'll say she blamed others too much, or didn't help herself enough, or complain that her 13 reasons weren't...reasonable. Someone with suicidal thoughts sees the world through a prism that distorts reality, and magnifies their pain and loneliness; so their reasons make perfect sense in their minds. I didn't have 13 reasons when I tried, I didn't even have 3, and they didn't involve boys, or my friends. My friends were great, actually. I don't think my reasons are even important, because like Hannah's, no matter what they are, they won't be good enough for you. But that's the point. It's not your job to judge or to understand. As Clay learns along his journey the night he got the tapes, your job is to just be there, to care.I think it was brilliant of the author to not just make the book about things people have done to Hannah to send her over the edge, so that she's not just some poor victim, but also include things she did that hurt others and hurt herself, as part of the 13 reasons why she felt her life wasn't worth living anymore. I still can't believe what she let happen to Jessica, and then let happen to herself later in the story.Most importantly, I think this book shows us that we do the most harm with the words we don't use -- the things we don't say. I think all the opportunities people around Hannah missed to say or do something to save her, and even Hannah's reluctance to do something about the sign that tragically connected her to Clay the night of the party, are all sad reminders that our silence and inaction yield horrible consequences.