Beth's Reviews > Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
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I'm one of the very few people who strongly disliked Thirteen Reasons Why, so maybe I should explain to you why.

I hate Thirteen Reasons Why. And here’s why.

Most of all, it glamorises suicide.

I'm putting this at the top because I can't believe I missed it in my original review. And this is a controversial point, because most of my Goodreads friends, whose opinions I would hold up as gospel, loved this book for its realistic and harrowing portrayal of teen suicide.

This book is one big glamorous monument to Hannah's suicide.

To me, it feeds the myths that a lot of teens hold about suicide, rather than debunk them.

Let me start off by saying that all pain is, eventually, temporary. When I think about the worst pain I've ever gone through - depression, painful and invasive surgery, grief - I thoughtn it would never end. But it did. And it always does. Yes, it will hurt like hell. Yes, it will feel as though it's never going to. But, yes, it ends. Eventually. And you have to be strong and extremely brave and honest, but there will be a day when you will look back on your worst pain and it will be a memory.

That is why suicide is never the answer.

So, what's the reason behind this bizarre, obvious, late-night PSA from the brilliant mind of a bat-shit crazy reader from the minority? [hahahaha].

I think this book encourages suicide.

There, I said it. I know it's a strong and sweeping and dramatic statement to make. I don't think that Asher wanted it to be that way. I'm not trying to accuse Asher of actively encouraging suicide or anything.

But.

I have felt suicidal before. Briefly, never seriously. And yet, the thought that I don't think is that uncommon went something like this:

"When I'm dead, they'll all be sorry."

Am I projecting my own experiences onto this book? Maybe. But, when you write about something as sensitive as suicide, I think that possibility is always out there.

This book encourages that line of thinking.

Let me tell you, emotionally wrecked teenagers: when you are dead, you are freaking gone. You will never grow up. You will never see your parents again. You will never have another moment that makes you feel happy or special in the here and now. You are gone forever.

But life will go on for those around you. They won't be sorry when you're dead. Or maybe they will be, but you know what? They'll still be alive. They'll still have life. You won't. They'll get to move on. You never will.

But Hannah Baker kills herself. And it's a dramatic, redemptive, cataclysmic act. Hannah Baker sends the tapes, and she becomes the still point of the turning world. She is Clay's Lost Lenore, the beautiful and romantic and unknowable girl who will live on forever in his memory. Hannah Baker kills herself, and she makes all those people who ever hurt her sorry.

You can tell me that 13RW is all about learning to help the people around us and think about the consequences of our actions. I'm sorry, readers, I love that you guys could get something wonderful and life-affirming and heartbreaking out of this book, but I just couldn't get past the fact that it's Hannah who teaches these lessons. Hannah dies, and she becomes every romanticised suicide cliché: the omniscient, omnipresent avenging angel, the tragic heroine. And I'm sorry, but that's not how suicide works. As much as Asher pays lip service to the fact that Hannah Baker Didn't Have To Die, well, she kinda did. Because didn't her suicide work out just great for everybody? Skye might finally get some of Clay's, um, 'help.' The rapist was exposed, the peeping tom was exposed, every person who'd been mean or unfair to Hannah was exposed and made to feel so, so sorry. Everyone learns an Important Lesson, and it's all thanks to Hannah and her decision to kill herself. Hannah shows everybody.

And, I'm sorry, but you never do. That's just not how it works. In many ways, Hannah is the evil twin of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but instead of living to breathe life into the dull main character, Hannah dies so that she can breathe life into the dull main character and, for all Asher's suicide-helpline advice, I couldn't help but see this as one great propeller of romantic and dangerous teenage myths.

It’s a clever concept, but it’s fundamentally illogical. Each of the characters have to send it from one ‘reason’ to another; at the end of the book, Clay passes Hannah’s tapes along to the next ‘reason’ on her list. Hannah herself raises the fact that she’s sending it between some people who are guilty of a lesser role – e.g. (view spoiler) That sounds pretty logical, no? But there’s a couple of huge things ‘wrong’ in the context of the story, although some of them probably reflect more badly on me than they do on the story:

1) Not all of the tape-receivers are guilty of ‘crimes’ of the same magnitude. In fact, sometimes, there is quite a divide between some of them, e.g. we have (view spoiler) against a guy who once grabbed Hannah’s ass and one (I think?) who was a friend that she grew away from. Hannah’s logic is that the listeners will keep passing along because of their guilt, and they will not reveal the others’ secrets because they’re culpable, too. But honestly? If I were in the position of one of the guys who grabbed Hannah’s ass, I’d risk people finding out about that in order to spill on the (view spoiler). There was a large, large gulf between the minor and the horrible.

2) Despite the fact that Hannah said she picked on the lesser offenders so they’d pass the tape along, I still don’t understand why some of them would. Guilt? Maybe. But, for the love of GOD, Justin (view spoiler) Not only is that a crime, it’s also – if I have my society-sense right – one of the worst you can commit. It’s entirely possible that (view spoiler) could bring charges against him after that, since (view spoiler) I understand why it wouldn’t get so far, but…really? Mud sticks. There are probably still people in the world who would think ‘I’m not convinced’ if there was watertight evidence showing that a man was (view spoiler). A lot of the characters - (view spoiler) would be taking one hell of a chance if they chose to send it along.

Hannah is a horrible character. I mean this in two ways. One is that she’s an evil little bitch who I’d really like to punch in the face if she wasn’t dead. Second is that, the way Asher writes her, she’s NOT AT ALL plausible. (At least, not to me.)

First, let me explain why she’s a horrible little bitch.

She’s hiding in a closet when (view spoiler) She does absolutely nothing to intervene. She sees it all and does nothing. Fair enough, she’s too drunk/scared to intervene while it’s actually happening. I can see that. That makes perfect sense to me. It doesn’t necessarily make her a vile person. Would it have been better if she had intervened? Well, sure, but we’re all human. I think we can all understand, to a greater or lesser degree, while she would fear for herself or just not be a fit state to stop it. (Still, she could have called the cops when it was over or something. That’s not really my issue here, though. I have no issue with protagonists who do bad things. I find them really fascinating. I just have an issue with how this was handled.)

However, Asher does not make ANYTHING of Hannah’s guilt. To me, the last thing you should feel when you’re reading about a suicide is “my God, why is this book so WAH WAH POOR LITTLE ME?” I can’t imagine anything worse than feeling suicidal. But Hannah never gives any indication of guilt or even SYMPATHY towards poor Jessica. All she does is whine on and on about HERSELF, how it affected HER, and yet nothing about how it affected Jessica or even how bad she feels for what she let happen to Jessica.

Furthermore, Hannah then proceeds to SEND THE TAPE TO JESSICA. And denounces her throughout as one of her ‘thirteen reasons why’: thirteen people who caused her suicide. So, let’s recap. (view spoiler)

How does Hannah handle this? Well, obviously, she tops herself. (Because, you really must understand, HANNAH has been hit hardest by all of this.) Except that, before her death, Hannah makes a tape which she sends around fourteen people (view spoiler) On this tape, Hannah repeatedly calls Jessica out as one of the reasons why she killed herself and blames Jessica for bad things that happened to her – except that what happened between Jessica and Hannah to end their friendship was so pathetic that I don’t even remember what it was.

If Jessica hasn’t switched off the tape – and, frankly, I’m surprised she didn’t smash it – by that point, Hannah then went to great pains to (view spoiler) So, even if Jessica could remember and it wasn’t all horrifying news to her, she then had to deal with the fact that her ex-best friend and crush (view spoiler) And that said ex-best friend killed herself. And views Jessica as being responsible.

And, oh yeah, chose to tell thirteen other people about the horrible things that happened.

As if it was really Hannah’s business.

So, yes, I hated Hannah. But I hated her most of all because of her unending slamming of Jessica.

But, worst of all? We’re obviously supposed to see Hannah as the victim in all of this.

Granted, Clay makes a passing reference to ‘and then Hannah hit [Jessica] with the tapes.’ Brief moral condemnation, check! But, really, at the end of the novel, Hannah is supposed to be the book’s victim. She’s its resounding tragedy. Not Jessica – y’know, the poor (view spoiler) and now fourteen other people know every detail and she knows they know and they know she knows they know. And she might not have been able to remember any of it in the first place!
Excuse me while I go throw up.

Sorry for all my outraged repetition up there. Just didn’t feel that I’d quite hammered the point home.

Unlike some people, though, I didn’t inherently mind the fact that Hannah hadn’t been tormented to her suicide in some terrible way. It felt more true to life that way. This is the glorious teenage world, where one stupid comment can make you want to curl up in a ball and cry. Granted, it’s not quite glamorous, but it’s very true.

It’s Asher’s handling of this fact that butchered it for me. This brings me on to my second blanket definition of why Hannah Baker is utterly unbearable.

As I’ve mentioned several times before, Hannah’s reasons are a mixture of the severe and mundane – I suppose, realistically. But Hannah’s tone is so angry that there is virtually no variation. She seemed equally as angry at the guy who’d once pronounced that she had a ‘nice ass’ as the (view spoiler). Maybe that’s plausible for a suicidal girl – that she should feel so bitter and twisted towards everyone. Still, Hannah also has a very didactic narrative voice. I felt as though I was supposed to be Learning A Very Important Lesson, but equally important lessons from the (view spoiler) I mean, really? They’re both in the same sport, perhaps – sexual judgment/harassment – but, really, completely different leagues.

Of course, women should not be objectified. They should not be treated like meat. But what happened to Hannah was hardly bullying – it was a brief pain, something to shake off, not something that should blight her in the way it did. It doesn’t push her down further; it starts her downward spiral. That seemed all backwards to me. Plus, I know that teenagers are hardly known for their perspective, but I’d rather my ‘nice ass’ be acknowledged than be ridiculed on acne or bad hair or any kind of weight problem. Also, female students can be just as mean and judgmental – if not so more – about their peers’ appearances/bodies than men. So, please, my comment above is not a comment on a misogynistic society. P.S., it felt like Asher’s was. But really, ‘nice ass’? I’m not saying that Hannah should have taken it as a compliment – but perhaps taken it on the chin a little more?

She expresses outrage at one point because she expressed one of the signs of suicidal thoughts: she had a haircut.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am not exaggerating. Hannah Baker honest-to-God spews vitriol all over these tapes because people saw that she’d had a haircut and their reaction was, “hey, nice haircut!” instead of “ARE YOU HAVING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS?!?!”

Insulting.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
August 27, 2011 – Shelved
August 27, 2011 – Shelved as: pre-2011-reads
May 5, 2012 – Shelved as: all-downhill-from-there
May 5, 2012 – Shelved as: break-out-the-brain-bleach
May 5, 2012 – Shelved as: could-have-been-better
May 5, 2012 – Shelved as: dangerous-implications
May 5, 2012 – Shelved as: disappointment
May 5, 2012 – Shelved as: good-beginning-bad-ending
May 5, 2012 – Shelved as: not-for-me
May 5, 2012 – Shelved as: oh-my-god-shut-up
May 5, 2012 – Shelved as: please-go-away
May 5, 2012 – Shelved as: whiny-girls
May 5, 2012 – Shelved as: wish-i-hadn-t-read
May 5, 2012 – Shelved as: yuck-yuck-yuck
May 5, 2012 – Shelved as: everyone-loves-it-but-me

Comments Showing 1-50 of 379 (379 new)


message 1: by Beth (new) - rated it 1 star

Beth Thank you. :) I worried I might be attacked or slammed for this review, though, so it's really nice to hear that!


message 2: by Katherine (new)

Katherine I haven't read the book, but I thought this review was great - you made some great points :)


Cassi aka Snow White Haggard I lost a cousin to suicide so I'm leery of any book that tries to offer justification of it. I haven't even touched this, especially after reading Future of Me which was also weak.


message 4: by Shirley (new)

Shirley Marr A very brave review Bonnie. Good on you for being able to say it all *hugs*


Laura Nice. I felt very conflicted about this book because I found it very compelling, but I had many issues with it that you articulated in this review very well.


Aly (Fantasy4eva) oh my god. this review is incredible. and a little shattering. I love the book. But I'm really having to re-think a few things. I've always had problems with Hannah, that's always been there, but i kind of took it on the chin when i found how meaningful the book felt to me.

thing is, i have seen some negative reviews, but they never really went into real depth as to why they had a problem with it so i could never really take them seriously. your's is the first that has really left me in thought.

i plan on rereading this soon. curious to see how i will feel about since reading it a while back :)


Vanessa I completely agree with your review too, I don't understand the hype. Hannah is a horrible character, and I couldn't stand Clay's narrative. Very disappointing...


message 8: by Beth (last edited May 06, 2012 01:31AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Beth @Katherine @Shirley - thank you :)

@Cassi - I don't know what to say, because, obviously, there are a lot of people who loved this book and found it a moving and heartrending tribute. But, if you're sensitive about it, I probably wouldn't read it (esp. not now that you've kinda got my opinion whirring around in your head which might sour the book and make you sensitive to the kinda 'subtext.')

@Aly - don't get me wrong, I don't want you to think that I mean any of this as an insult to anybody who loved this book. I have respect for any book that makes readers think seriously about topics as serious as this one. It would be interesting to see what you think, though, because I only came up with these opinions after rethinking and re-evaluating the book, which, like you, I'd had lingering problems with but nothing like what I wrote down here (my first rating probably would have been 3 stars). (ALSO, THANK YOU SO MUCH!)

@Laura - I did find this very very compelling and readable, so it's not a "THIS BOOK SUCKED IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY" 1 star review, it's a "this book sucked in a very specific (and, to me, offensive) way that means I can't rate it more than 1 star." My Goodreads stars were not created equal.


Aly (Fantasy4eva) hey, not an insult at all. we're all entitled to our opinion and i think you made some great valid points.

i'm gonna link you to Karen's review of the book because somehow she manages to bring humour in the most bleakest of books. plus, i think you will like it :D

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 10: by Kaia (new)

Kaia I admire you a lot for being willing to say all this. Usually, in the rush to appear sympathetic and sensitive to suicide victims, people forget that suicide isn't something people do only because they're depressed or upset in some way.

It's also a tactic of the emotionally/physically abusive. It kinda sounds like Hannah is just that type.

My father committed suicide and my views of it don't tend to align with those of other people (especially people who've never known someone who committed suicide). I doubt I'd ever have the courage to write my honest opinion on a book like this. So kudos to you.


Susan OH MY GOODNESS, YES! This is exactly why I didn't like this book. Thank you.


message 12: by Scolopendra (new)

Scolopendra Thank you for touching on what I thought was the most loathsome part of this book--the terrible treatment of Jessica. It struck me at once as Asher's creepy way of punishing Jessica for ending her friendship with Hannah--because for breaking up with a friend over a misunderstanding, you TOTALLY deserve (a) to get a tape in which she informs you that you helped cause her suicide and (b) find out that the boy you were keeping company with lets his buddies rape you while you were wasted FROM THE DEAD GIRL WHO BLAMES YOU FOR HER SUICIDE.


Veronica I initially gave this book five stars and am still trying to process it. I'm not sure I agree with all of your points, but you've given me some good things to think about and respond to in my own review of the book. Thanks!


Denise Thank you for this review. I agree with all your points and would further add that suicide is not a decision people make lightly. I have been to the brink and even then, when I was the most desperate and in the darkest place, I had the smallest desire to live and to push through it..If I could only describe that to you, you would never believe for an instant that Hannah was anywhere near that place. Life can suck, but suicide is why beyond that...profoundly beyond that. I hated this book and Jay Asher should never have attempted to tackle a subject he has obviously had no experience with.


message 15: by Maureen (last edited Jul 02, 2012 03:35PM) (new)

Maureen Ha, I'd never even heard of this enormo-bestseller-soon-to-be-movie-with-Selena-Gomez. Sounds appalling.


Ceecee 100% agree with you. I may add that Hannah's suicide note is so long and well thought out. I can't believe she went and actually got herself killed. If she spent so much time blaming other people like that, she could not have possibly killed herself because she felt sorry for herself (which is usually the case) but because she wanted to make these people pay with guilt, while thinking herself as the martyr who could teach them a lesson. I did not like that at all.
Usually suicides are the result of inward blaming, or introjection. What she did was projection - blaming other people - which is not usually seen in depressed people. It didnt make sense to me, and Hannah was hard to sympathize with.


Casey I could see how you got to these conclusions, but I think they were more trying to make Clay the victim. He was one of the few that didn't fit the pattern and he had to go through the severe mental retributions of finding everything out. It's the spots where he goes "Oh, I should have done something else in that spot." That's where the plot really lies.


David I strongly disagree that this book is about suicide. I believe that the surface story presents a story about a individual that does kill themselves but this book in my mind is far more about

A. How our actions impact others
B. how huge of a role adults play in the lives of teens

The strongest character- the one that I think I had the hardest time with and still remember months later- in terms of hate is not any of the teens in this book but the adult that failed to act. Sure individuals are responsible for their own actions and this book/ Hannah does "blame" others for a action that she alone took. But the book isn't written from the perceptive of things leading up to her suicide but the affects after it. We know all along she is going to die we are more focused as to the "why" than anything else. It's why I think many people picked this book up but when you get done with it- at least for me- I didn't find myself focusing on anything other than a step back of "wow what I say and do to others greatly impact them" and it is that thought, not the concept of suicide being wrong or right that I think we are to take from this story.


message 19: by Phil (new) - rated it 1 star

Phil Thank you, thank you, thank you for this eloquence. I was worried when I saw the high ratings for this book, but literally everything you wrote I agree with.


Ashley YES.

Thank you.


Carrie Hinkel-Gill I can't believe I rated it as highly as I did, and you touched on something that bothered me too with Jessica's character. I've been rolling this one over in my head since I read it, and I find I like it less and less.


Rochelle Love this review.


message 23: by Naomi (new) - rated it 1 star

Naomi YOU HAVE ARTICULATED EVERYTHING I HATE ABOUT THIS BOOK. THANK YOU SO MUCH. Except for Clay romanticizing Hannah way too much, and claiming she shouldn't have done it, only because he cared about her, and she was pretty. But I guess you touched on that.


Raiske Haha. I'm reading your review up to " Not Jessica – y’know, the poor [rape victim, who was raped by her crush’s friend while being watched by the crush and her ex-best friend (hide spoiler)] and now fourteen other people know every detail and she knows they know and they know she knows they know. And she might not have been able to remember any of it in the first place!
Excuse me while I go throw up." then I thought, wait, only Hannah, Justin and Clay and Jessica who knows about the rape. Hannah didn't mention her name when talking about the rape, it's Clay. Haha just pointing out, me back to the review. . :DD


message 25: by Beth (new) - rated it 1 star

Beth "Haha. I'm reading your review up to " Not Jessica – y’know, the poor [rape victim, who was raped by her crush’s friend while being watched by the crush and her ex-best friend (hide spoiler)] and now fourteen other people know every detail and she knows they know and they know she knows they know. And she might not have been able to remember any of it in the first place!
Excuse me while I go throw up." then I thought, wait, only Hannah, Justin and Clay and Jessica who knows about the rape. Hannah didn't mention her name when talking about the rape, it's Clay. Haha just pointing out, me back to the review."

True! I was talking more about Jessica knowing that the explicit details of her rape had been broadcast to so many people. Since she was unconscious, too, she probably wouldn't know who would be able to figure it out from that. I mean, Clay did - but I appreciate what you're saying.


message 26: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah Absolutely agreed.


message 27: by Marissa (new)

Marissa Liyan I love this review! And all reviews of this book with this same opinion. They're always so detailed and well though out, while the positive side of this book is always the same: it's deep; suicide isn't the same for everyone; and the biggest one, THINK ABOUT HOW YOUR TEENY TINY ACTIONS CAN AFFECT SOMEONE. News flash! That is basically a direct quote from the book! How the heck are people saying its meaning is so deep and eye opening when is written in the flesh of the book!? I simply think that if a theme is that obviously put (being in the actual text and all) that it's not a very good theme, considering the author has to hand it to people. But yes, I feel like I get a little something new every time i read a negative review about this book. A new flaw that I missed. And while this may sound petty and hateful, it is. I truly hate this book. And it definitely does not deserve all of the praise it gets, not at all.


message 28: by Charlee (new)

Charlee Beck I was going to write a review, but Im not now because I'd literally just be repeating everything you said.


message 29: by Heart27 (new)

Heart27 Thank you so much for writing this review! I was going to read it, but after reading this review I don't think I could make myself. Wow, just wow. I can't believe a character like that is the protagonist we're supposed to sympathize with.


message 30: by Ioana (new)

Ioana I was planning on reading the book, eventually. As such, I read a couple of my friends' reviews, then some random ones, until I stumbled over yours. Exceptionally well written and very compelling. I'm not going to bother picking up this book anymore since I'm convinced it would just end up majorly pissing me off.


message 31: by Heart27 (last edited Jun 05, 2014 06:23AM) (new)

Heart27 Ioana wrote: "I was planning on reading the book, eventually. As such, I read a couple of my friends' reviews, then some random ones, until I stumbled over yours. Exceptionally well written and very compelling. ..."
Honestly, at first this review made me want to avoid the book, but it also kind of makes me want to read it more to see how bad it is!


message 32: by Ioana (new)

Ioana Josette wrote: "Ioana wrote: "I was planning on reading the book, eventually. As such, I read a couple of my friends' reviews, then some random ones, until I stumbled over yours. Exceptionally well written and ver..."

Oh, I get plenty curious myself but..I really think I'd end up rolling my eyes to death, haha.


message 33: by Beth (new) - rated it 1 star

Beth oh, guys, I don't want to put you off reading it! after all, this is only my opinion (and it seems to be the minority, tbh). I'd be interested to see what you thought anyway. :)


Kenya As someone who lost one of their closest friends to suicide, this book is wonderful. While yes, suicide is something inside your brain, and it's unstable, that is not the only reason why. There ARE reasons why people kill themselves. And for you to say it doesn't is really insulting to those who DO have suicidal thoughts for reasons. Who are you to say what's a good reason and what's not. AND there are clear cut signs of people with suicidal thoughts. And believe it or not, CUTTING HAIR is one of them. It's not always the case, but it is a FACT that changes in appearance can sometimes lead to people trying to get a statement. One of my closest friends committed suicide, yes, she had bipolar disorder and depression, but the things in her life made it harder for her. And I would never shame her for taking her own life because it is NOT my right to judge her for her actions. And clearly the topic of suicide leaves you so stuck in your opinion that god forbid a book try to change what society views suicide as, a cop out. And that's not always the case. My friend's pain is over, and even though I miss her a lot, I knew my entire time being friends with her, that she was going to end her life, at one point or another, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.


message 35: by Kels (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kels You are not the only person who has lost someone to suicide.

I have lost someone to suicide too and my opinion on this book is very similar to that of the reviewer.

In truth, I found this book pretty distasteful and glamourising of suicide. Kind of a "look how I showed them!" thing by Hannah. Strongly disliked it.


Kenya Did I say that I was the only person who lost someone to suicide? No. I didn't. You think it glorifies suicide. I think it explains it a bit more. Suicide is not black and white. there is LOTS of grey areas in it. You can dislike it all you want, but I'm saying from MY personal experience with suicide, just because people have REASONS for suicide, doesn't make it any less valid and to deny that or try to strip that away from someone is disgusting and hurtful and rude.


message 37: by Beth (new) - rated it 1 star

Beth OP here.

Whoa whoa whoa! Jesus Christ. Since I wrote this review, I have actually ATTEMPTED suicide due to severe depression and, yes, reasons in my own life. It didn't change my opinion on this book one jot, and, no, it shouldn't really matter. But, trust me, I am not in any position to judge anyone who has either killed them or tried to.

Yes, I am aware that changes of appearance is a sign of suicidal behaviour. My problem was the tone-deafness of the vitriol - yes, change of appearance is a sign of suicidal behaviour but, frankly, does anyone in the world really look at someone who changed their haircut and ask them if they're not suicidal? I got Asher's larger point - that society too often ignores people who are suicidal - but I felt that the EXECUTION was off.

WHERE in the review did I try to strip the reasoning away from Hannah? If I did, it was absolutely not my intention to do so. Yes, people have "reasons" to commit suicide. I would never, ever diminish that and I am so offended that you would suggest it. My personal opinion was not that Hannah's weren't "reasons" but that I struggled to see Hannah as the victim (as she saw herself and everyone else did). I'm not JUDGING her for committing suicide - but I think I am in a position to judge her for watching her best friend get raped and then making a tape when she spills the fact, behaves as though she herself is the victim and EVERYONE ELSE DOES TOO.

It's funny that you think this book introduces grey areas in suicide - I actually felt the opposite. I felt this book didn't give the platform it could've/should've to despair and depression, instead preferring to package it into a neat "thirteen reasons why." From my own experiences, everyone aspires to find The Big Reason why you're suicidal. Yes, there are reasons, and I absolutely do not have a problem with that in the novel.

I explained that I could not sympathise with Hannah the way the narrative required us to (and I don't need to sympathise with characters generally), and the problem I found with the "reasons" was not that they were THERE, but that the tapes seemed more motivated by vengeance and glorification. I'm going to repeat a paragraph from my review, not because I don't think you didn't read it, but because this underpins my 'problem' with the narrative and always has:

"I just couldn't get past the fact that it's Hannah who teaches these lessons. Hannah dies, and she becomes every romanticised suicide cliché: the omniscient, omnipresent avenging angel, the tragic heroine. And I'm sorry, but that's not how suicide works. As much as Asher pays lip service to the fact that Hannah Baker Didn't Have To Die, well, she kinda did. Because didn't her suicide work out just great for everybody? Skye might finally get some of Clay's, um, 'help.' The rapist was exposed, the peeping tom was exposed, every person who'd been mean or unfair to Hannah was exposed and made to feel so, so sorry. Everyone learns an Important Lesson, and it's all thanks to Hannah and her decision to kill herself. Hannah shows everybody.

And, I'm sorry, but you never do. That's just not how it works. In many ways, Hannah is the evil twin of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but instead of living to breathe life into the dull main character, Hannah dies so that she can breathe life into the dull main character and, for all Asher's suicide-helpline advice, I couldn't help but see this as one great propeller of romantic and dangerous teenage myths."

I'm truly glad that you could get something good out of this novel. Even with my negative 1-star reviews, I don't ever want to take a book 'away' from somebody - I know how important it is when you find the right one. Come back if you want to talk more. :)


Joshua It does not glamorize suicide. Did you not see how Jay Asher showed the negative repercussions? Devastation to everyone and it's never to late to get help, you just need to be willing. Which Hannah baker wasnt


Joshua But I do understand where you're coming from


message 40: by Thebookchick (new)

Thebookchick I have to admit that ending was hilarious. "ARE YOU HAVING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS?!?!"


Serena Wow, I never thought about Hannah that way before. I did like the book, but now... I guess Hannah was being a little self-centered and nosy, wasn't she?


message 42: by Kels (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kels
I just couldn't get past the fact that it's Hannah who teaches these lessons. Hannah dies, and she becomes every romanticised suicide cliché: the omniscient, omnipresent avenging angel, the tragic heroine. And I'm sorry, but that's not how suicide works. As much as Asher pays lip service to the fact that Hannah Baker Didn't Have To Die, well, she kinda did. Because didn't her suicide work out just great for everybody? Skye might finally get some of Clay's, um, 'help.' The rapist was exposed, the peeping tom was exposed, every person who'd been mean or unfair to Hannah was exposed and made to feel so, so sorry. Everyone learns an Important Lesson, and it's all thanks to Hannah and her decision to kill herself. Hannah shows everybody.


I agree completely! That is one of my biggest problems with this book.


message 43: by Allison (new)

Allison Ruvidich Great review!


Phoebe You weren't necessarily meant to like or sympathise with Hannah, I think it was Clay that we were supposed to really connect with. Anyway, thoughts about the characters aside, this does not in any way glamorize suicide and it just simply depends on the perspective of the reader to take away from the book what they will


marisa inez I mean it doesn't really GLAMORIZE suicide. But for someone who has been suicidal it does not do what it is supposed to. Suicide books are supposed to make you never want to do think about suicide again.
This one did the opposite. After reading I was jealous. She got back at everyone who had wronged her. And I found myself thinking about it again.
I mean I'm fine now I'm not saying the book made me suicidal again, but I'm angry that this book made me even think about it.
People who haven't been suicidal might find it eye opening and that's good. But it is NOT for people who have.


message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

i like this book so far but i get what you are saying


Seneemays I'm so glad I'm not the only one that felt this way! Everyone was giving me hate for not liking the book!


Seneemays I'm so glad I'm not the only one that felt this way! Everyone was giving me hate for not liking the book!


Seneemays I'm so glad I'm not the only one that felt this way! Everyone was giving me hate for not liking the book!


message 50: by Joe (new)

Joe D. I tried to read this book multiple times and couldn't figure out why it just didn't grab me. I think I finally found the reason why.


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