Friday, March 18, 2011
A week of reviews day four (13 reasons why)
Hannah is dead. Nobody understands why. Then the tapes arrive. Clay starts to listen to them. Hannah's voice explains, on thirteen sides, why. The thirteen people that brought her to this place. The role Clay played.
It is really hard for me to read about or talk about suicide. I don't imagine it's easy for anyone, but I have my own reasons for treating that subject in a special way.
For keeping it at a distance.
This book was difficult for me, because I worried about the way Asher would treat it. I didn't think he'd be light about it, but I worried he'd kind of go through the paces and then be trite about it.
I'm the type of person that watches a teen movie-- you know the ones with the big party scene. It's fun. Lots of laughs. Everyone's excited and psyched about this awesome party- WOOT- and all I can think about is: "who is going to clean this place up when the party is over". I have trouble NOT thinking about the consequences. I have trouble not thinking about the people off-screen and how the events are going to impact them.
I didn't warm to this book until the very end. I just can't read about suicide without wishing the whole time that things are going to change. That it's going to work out. That it won't happen.
But that's not reality. That didn't happen here, but I think in writing about this topic-- and by exploring what brought this character to this place in her life, Asher takes on a whole host of issues. He shines a light on things like reputation. About how we let rumors influence how we treat people. How we shy away from the issues that aren't pretty. On how we avoid unpleasantness. On the idea that one little act can lead to another little act, which can influence another little moment.
I think he does it well. He does it carefully.
I hope it works like a beacon to any kids who are going through the things Hannah is dealing with. And I hope it leads them away from her fate.
I recommend this book.
Have you read it? What did you think?