This month at Towne Book Center & Cafe we will discuss Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.
I already enjoyed the book, but as I was explaining the concepts to my kids, I kept discovering more layers to love about the story. In fact, Pumpkin asked if she could read it. To be sure, suicide is not a funny subject and many adults may not feel like reading about it. I feel, though, that it’s a topic relevant to today’s kids and should not be ignored. What many people might not understand and what I believe Asher gets brilliantly, is that a suicide attempt is not because of one singular event; but rather a series of events that may or may not be connected. What connects the victim is that these events are happening to them and therefore are therefore made more traumatic.
As Hannah Baker has one incident after another, she seemingly has no help and no recourse. I hesitate to say that she gets revenge. What I’d like to believe is that Hannah’s tapes, as they single out each person who played a part in her demise, will make the recipients think about how their individual actions affect others. While I don’t believe her intent is revenge; she will get it if the students don’t finish the tapes and do as she requests.
Enter Clay. The nice boy who knows Hannah on the periphery but wants to know her better. He, like the school, are traumatized by Hannah’s death and struggle for answers. Answers that they will probably never get. Unless, of course, they’re named in the tapes and get a chance to hear Hannah’s side of the story.
A rare treat. We get to see the story from two viewpoints.