Suicide is a very serious issue and one that's affecting my life in numerous ways through my friends and family. I really avoided reading this book af...moreSuicide is a very serious issue and one that's affecting my life in numerous ways through my friends and family. I really avoided reading this book after my friend Elizabeth gave it to me; I wasn't sure how I would feel about it and never really found the motivation to read it before others on my shelves. I recently heard a synopsis that changed that and really encouraged me to read it. When hearing the synopsis I was almost positive that this book would have a negative effect towards those whom suicide affected. After reading the book I'm not sure if it has a negative or positive effect.
I know numerous people for whom this book has saved their life and because of that I think it's important that it continues its rounds among readers.
Personally, I'm not really sure that I enjoyed it. It is one of those books that focuses on a specific and important topic and not the quality of the writing or pacing, etc, so I will focus on how it addressed the issue and not it's qualities as a piece of literature.
My fear towards this book is that it glorifies some qualities of suicide from the perspective of someone considering such. The book romanticizes the idea of leaving a note behind, affecting people critically and emotionally, even hurting them and changing the way they will live the rest of their lives by dieing and leaving them some sort of indication that they could have prevented her death. It empathizes and glorifies the idea that people will only listen to someone once it's too late or once they're already dead. That is a tremendous fault. That in itself can be the defining factor in that decision-- whether or not they can continue living, almost, after their deaths, the idea of becoming that catalyst that really matters when they don't feel that their life matters.
The book also ultimately places the blame on those around her for her death. She highlights every moment that she could have prevented something or someone could have prevented her final decision in some way. I understand the intention of this. This method, I believe, is meant to encourage readers to be more watchful and kind, to really look for those signs in other people and try to help them before they reach a point of no return. But it's also not entirely fair. I'm only seventeen and I have in my lifetime successfully prevented two of my very close friends from committing suicide. In both of these situations, it was a very real consideration and it was not one that many other people noticed was happening. If you haven't experienced something like this in your lifetime, let me tell you, it's absolutely terrifying. You never know when you're going to go to school or work or band and then find out later they've done it. That for an hour, while you were dancing or sleeping, they sent you a message that said they were going to kill themselves, right then, unless someone cared enough to notice. Any day you could wake up and they're gone, silently. It's not a quick easy fix. You never know if you're out of the tunnel. You do your absolute best, make your life about that, and it can still not be enough. I've since had a few people come to me and tell me that they're starting to consider suicide. It scares the living crap out of me. Just because I've done it once, twice doesn't mean it gets any better. It's scary and it's foolish to think that choosing to save someone from a decision they've made themselves is easy or even always preventable. Even if they themselves think that it should be. Hannah herself admits frequently that after she's made her decision, no one and nothing can stop her, even when they try.
I got lucky with the two people I was able to help. Not everyone does. My mother was lost two people she was very close to through suicide. Two people whom she loved dearly and who never showed signs of contemplating suicide or being unhappy. It's tremendously easy to miss and it's tremendously hard to help. Encouraging the idea of blame only hurts people who are already hurting more.
This book can help many people but I think it can also hurt. Suicide is a very real and complex issue because people are very real and complex and no book can be expected to address all of it's faucets. Still, I think it's important to expose faults or holes so that they can also be addressed in an alternative manner. All we can do is our best. (less)
I think this book was mis-advertised. I was so excited to read it, but when I mentioned it to my friend Katie and she talked about it briefly, I becam...moreI think this book was mis-advertised. I was so excited to read it, but when I mentioned it to my friend Katie and she talked about it briefly, I became apprehensive.
I've been really interested about stories featuring teens interested in film making lately and that initially, is what led me to this novel. I enjoyed many parts of the story. The characters and writing were very fun and enjoyable to read, exactly as I hoped for in this novel.
However, I didn't really enjoy the ghost subplot throughout the story. It felt unfocused and busy to me and didn't really appear to have a clear conclusion. The subplot would have taken me entirely off guard if I hadn't been warned ahead of time with that discussion, with no indication from any of the outwards indicators.
As such, I'm really not sure how I feel about the book or sure that I'm giving it adequate thought or review. I felt left reading a book I hadn't really signed up for, yet longing for the bits of story that were left less explored because of the subplot.
There are many more technical or insightful things I could say or explore about the novel, but as a whole, my main issue was the plotting as stated above. I'm torn between two and three stars for this book. (less)