Lizzie Duke, Reporter
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is the story of a girl named Hannah Baker who commits suicide and leaves behind 13 tapes. Each tells the story of a different person, situation or rumor which lead to her suicide.
The book is written similarly to a John Green novel, in the way it causes the reader to fall in love with a character, only to break their heart by killing them off. Asher indicts a slightly different grieving process by starting the book after the death has occurred.
Hannah’s story that of an average high school girl, yet that’s what makes it so touching. Rather than massive downfalls, it’s common situations that some people have experienced or witnessed such as false rumors, a poor home life, deceitful friends and a negative self image that eventually lead her to commit suicide.
This book stresses that people are more than just shapes floating through life, they’re deeply feeling and unapologetically driven. Anyone’s life could end at any point, and yet people keep living as if they have forever.
The character who receives Hannah’s tapes, Clay Jensen, is a modern prince charming. The entire book takes place in one night, as Clay listens to tape after tape. He follows Hannah’s map to each important setting she mentions, trying to walk in her very worn shoes. One cannot help wishing Hannah were still alive so that Clay could help her through all she was dealing with.
The novel ends fittingly without any real ending at all. This may be a metaphor for how Hannah’s life ended unexpectedly soon, or it may signify how Clay hasn’t moved on. Either way, the frustration induced by an open ending is oddly satisfying.
Overall, this book is tragically beautiful, thought-inducing and a good read for anyone looking for a change in perspective. Read with a box of tissues.