Reason to Live, or Why Death is So Hot Right Now
When I decided to read the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, I did a little background research first. I did not realize what a hot topic death, especially suicide, is right now in young adult lit. A quick look at Amazon gives me a ton of hot books about this topic. So, what do I think? I think this is a tough subject, but a lot of people deal with it—more than we may realize. I think exploring this subject in literature is eye-opening and healthy. It might even help some people who are really struggling. And why is this topic so hot? I’m not really sure. Maybe, it’s because it’s kind of a risqué subject. Maybe it’s because of the recent surge of interest in the supernatural and the creepy and in turn, an interest in death. I don’t know. Anyways, I read Thirteen Reasons Why and I really enjoyed, so maybe it’s just that the strong emotions related to death and suicide make for really good literature.
Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
The Story As It Is: Clay Jensen receives a mysterious package containing 7 tapes with sides numbered 1 through 13, the fourteenth side unmarked. On the first tape, he hears the voice of his crush Hannah Baker telling him he is one of the thirteen reasons she committed suicide. During one long evening, Clay makes his way all over town and through each of the tapes—finding out a lot of things about Hannah’s life that he never knew. As he listens to the tapes, Clay realizes the importance of every action one takes and how they might affect people in ways you can’t even see.
The Story As I See It: As a reader, I felt so bad for Clay. I could feel how much he was hurting. He only wanted to know Hannah better. How could he have been the reason she killed herself? Going on the journey with him was really exciting and emotionally-moving. Reading Hannah’s audio narrative is like talking to a ghost. It is kind of creepy, but also really effective in drawing you into the story. You will not be able to put this book down, wanting to know each of Hannah’s thirteen reasons. By reading this book, I felt myself considering the affect I have on people. Even sometimes when I feel invisible, I am affecting people in some way.
The Verdict: This book is definitely rough on the emotions. Hannah is pretty blunt about the events in her life and how she feels. In the end, however, it is a totally worthwhile read.
So, after reading about this, I’m pretty interested in reading some more of these trendy books about death:
- By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
- Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
- Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson