Enjoy what should have been a Monday with Mildred!*
Thirteen Reasons Why
You know how when you open a book and the cover, or just the inside cover, has a blurb that proclaims, “I couldn’t put it down!”? Well, I could put it down, but it sure wasn’t easy. Ironically, I hadn’t been sure I was interested in reading the book in the first place because it’s about a girl who kills herself, but first records audio tapes telling why she did it and has them sent to the people involved.
The premise sounds on the surface to be melodramatic teen angst, and I hate to say it but I’m well past the age of being interested in that story. Then I opened the book and began reading and discovered it’s also partially written in first person present tense, which is also a drag for me. Turned out it didn’t matter, because the story is very engaging right from the start when Clay drops off the tapes at the Post Office after listening to them in a marathon session. I was glad he stayed up all night, because I was hooked right away with Hannah’s voice and wanted to know all that she said.
Every character in the book is both what they seem and something deeper and more secret, and since the world is just like that, everyone is believable. The events related in the tapes are probably recognizable as well, but I wasn’t one to go to parties or even spend a lot of time with schoolmates, so don’t take my word for it. The structure of the book, Clay’s actions and thoughts intermixed with Hannah’s words on tape, lends itself well to a slow reveal of mystery upon mystery. The story is so powerful, with some large and sharp lessons that should be absorbed by people of any age but especially teens, that I rarely thought the characters were overreacting or untrue.
Unless you think getting caught up with a character who is dead from page one, by means of suicide, will be a trigger for you, this would be a good read for almost anyone. I won’t say it’s entertaining, because, you know, death. But it’s well written, brings up serious emotions from the characters and the reader, and has some very strong and important messages about considering the effects of your actions and how you deal with other peoples’ actions. I have not seen the Netflix series, and not sure that I will, but it’s easy to see how well it could be translated to the screen and be just as effective. Thirteen Reasons Why is well done and I’m glad I read it.
- 13 Reasons Why – Official Books Site
- 13 Reasons Why – Book – Wikipedia
- 13 Reasons Why – Netflix Series – Wikipedia
*I am so sorry. I forgot to post on Monday. Mea culpa!! – CFR
CFR: In Addition: Alright look, what I am about to write is totally my perspective written through my filters so the below, as pretty much everything I write in this blog, is IMHO. Also I have not read the book or seen the TV show. So let’s double up the IMHO as being based on Netflix previews and Wikipedia readings. So IMHO based on limited info.
Oh and I still suck for not posting this on Monday.
OH and SPOILERS!!!!
- WTF? So it seems that Hannah’s trauma;s are centered around men and or the culture using sexist behaviors and labels to shame her. Is this ever addressed as sexist BS? If not then, wow, SUCK!
- Speaking of Sexism. So according to what I have read, the suicidal person the hero helps after hearing from Hannah, the heroine, is a guy. Yup, didn’t learn anything about sexism and sexual abuse! *headdesk*
- Dear Author: I hope somewhere, like every where, in your book, you address sexism, slut-shaming, and sexual assault. If you do, GREAT! If you don’t, dude time to start.
- Pretty. And of course our heroine has to be pretty. See in our cultural writing tropes if the heroine is pretty, she deserves our sympathies. But what if she isn’t? Doesn’t she, or he, also deserve sympathy? Let’s write a book about growing up and staying ugly for once. Thanks.