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Thirteen Reasons Why Review

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More stories from Diandra Alvarado ‘17

It Ends With Us Review
February 13, 2017

Christian Fuenfhausen

There has been quite a bit of coverage and talk about Selena Gomez’s Netflix project, 13 Reasons Why. It will be released on March 31st and social media is buzzing with excitement for when it finally airs. However, let us remember that it was Jay Asher’s groundbreaking novel that made this possible.

The books begins when high school student, Clay Jenson, receives cassette tapes in the mail from Hannah Baker – she had committed suicide just a few weeks prior. In shock and distress, Clay does not know what to make of the thirteen tapes left for him from his classmate, who he once admired from afar. Once he begins to listen to Hannah through the cassettes, Clay learns that he is one of thirteen people that will receive and pass along these tapes. Why? Because each tape is addressed to one of thirteen people, detailing how each of them is a reason for why she took her own life. From that moment on, readers are then sent into a whirlwind of 13 memories and anecdotes that paint a vivid picture of what led to Hannah’s emotional turmoil and suffering.

Although it has been years since I have last read the novel, it has left a lasting impression upon me. I remember after I lent the book to a friend, she stated that she didn’t like it: “I felt like her reasons weren’t good enough.” I was deeply troubled by this statement. This was not a book filled with one catastrophic tragedy after another; it is a novel emphasizing how the small events, occurrences and interactions have a ripple effect. Asher illustrates that while something may be miniscule to one person, it may be detrimental to another. Essentially, it chronicles a story of how all the cruel words and actions a girl internalized, directed either toward her or around her, caused an insufferable pain that she believed she could only escape through her death.

This is why my friend’s statement troubled me. It was inability to recognize how our actions may affect someone else, and it’s this novel that calls upon its readers to be more conscious of that power we have. Asher eloquently and respectfully tackles this issue and its possible consequences in a way that leaves readers pensive and more aware, which is all you could really ask for from a great book.

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

1-800-273-8255

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Thirteen Reasons Why Review