Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

May 10, 2010
By Anonymous

The book, Thirteen Reasons Why, is a fictional novel about normal high school students and their party lives. A young girl, Hannah Baker, experiences a rough teenage life and decides that she should end her life, as well as making a list of people who are supposedly the cause of her suicide. The main character of the story is about a boy named Clay Jensen who receives a set of tapes with numbers going up to thirteen written in nail polish. Someone slipped a map in his locker and it leads to the mystery of Hannah's suicide. Clay crisscrosses through the night listening to the audio tapes of Hannah's voice explaining her reasons. The night of the party when Clay and Hannah decided to finally sit down to have a conversation, things got a little out of hand and caused the last straw of her decision about suicide. Hannah didn't want to kill herself for attention she killed herself to end her misery of people taking advantage of her. So she simply decided to overdose and end the story of her life, leaving guilt and grief behind for her friends to deal with.
Thirteen Reasons Why made me realize that people can take advantage of you and manipulate you to do things that will benefit them and not necessarily you. This can portray you to be something you're not, which is what happened to Hannah. Being in Jr. High you experience similar situations as those written about in Thirteen Reasons Why. For instance, if someone spreads a rumor about you that is not true, to people who do not know you, this can taint their view of you and hinder your possibility of any future friendship with them. Not to mention, affect your self esteem. When you know people are talking about you behind your back, you begin to feel self conscious, and isolated.

Hannah was popular, but with popularity comes problems. People are always trying to climb their way to the top. In Hannah's case, others compared themselves to her and tried to find her short comings to make themselves feel better. It's almost like an attack. People put you on a pedestal and expect you to live up to their expectations, and we all know no one is perfect. People will always disappoint you. For Hannah, popularity was her undoing. People she thought were her friends were not. But she did find one saving grace, Clay. Clay gave Hannah hope. She knew that no matter how bad things got, he would always love her. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough to keep her going.

It was very intriguing the way Jay Asher used the tapes to show how Clay and Hannah felt simultaneously throughout the book. It was helpful to see that Clay felt the same as Hannah at times, but unfortunately he couldn't get the guts to express himself to her. Our fears and insecurities often keep us alienated because of the fear of rejection. Clay could not tell Hannah how he felt, if he could've there may have been a different outcome for Hannah. We have to learn as teenagers, to express ourselves, and encourage others in time of need. To lend a hand and show compassion. This taught me, to reach out to others that are going through a difficult time, and give them support. In everyone's life, there are peaks and valleys. During the valleys are the times we grow the most, but it helps us become the people that we are today. Valleys give of strength and confidence that we can survive anything.

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