Book Opinion: Why Not? ’13 Reasons Why’ Revisited

Mondays will be reserved for opinion posts on books. Feel free to start a discussion in the comments!

Due to the recent craze about the Netflix series, I reread ‘13 Reasons Why‘. Reasons US.jpgYes, I had read this book before the Netflix series was released.

No, it did not have much of an impact on me. But I felt there was something missing from it…

You all know what it’s about. Highschooler Hannah Baker commits suicide, but before her ultimate act of self-destruction, she decides to record all the reasons why she did it, and arranges for these recordings to be passed on to each person she thinks was responsible for the “snowball effect” that caused her to end her life. If one person doesn’t send it, the recordings would be leaked.

The “Everything affects everything” theme is nothing new. It’s been reiterated through so many books, and it’s an underlying theme in almost everything. Have you read “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”? That’s a prime example of this theme. A towel can save a life! An alien highway can cause earth’s destruction! It’s just that Asher has stuck it in our faces with this book.

What it doesn’t stick into our faces is that help is available – actual, professional help. Help works. Therapists do work. Why do Hannah’s parents never come into the equation? Even Clay never thinks that telling them would do any good. He thinks she should have opened up to him. When Tony heard the tapes, why didn’t he call the police? Or at least Hannah’s parents?

Also, Hannah exposes actual crimes on her tapes. I’m trying not to spoil the book, but why would no one report a rape? Why? Even a trespasser would, but the novel just glosses over it as another “reason”. Just think about it, even Hannah doesn’t report this rapist. The novel doesn’t mention Jessica getting any help.

And that’s what’s missing from this book. Getting help.

Sure, it does show that reaching out to others is important, but for people who actually are suicidal, it seems to just tell them to wait for people to reach out. Build more walls, even when you go to a counsellor specifically to get help. Wait for them to read your mind. I know it’s hard to tear down those walls and open up, but it makes it seem impossible.

That’s the only issue I have with this book. Other than that, it’s written in an interesting way, incorporating the play and pause buttons. Hannah speaks like a real, sarcastic person, and the little satire on the male Mary Sue trope through Clay stands out. It gets a little frustrating to read towards the end, but it does manage to convey that it never hurts to just ask a person, “Hey, are you doing okay?”

At best, those little words may be the ray of hope they need, and at worst, they may laugh and say, “Yeah, obviously!”

Don’t look for instant gratification. If you’re going to reach out, give it some time. You don’t get six-pack abs in a day, do you? It’s hard, I know, but just give it some time.

And if you think someone looks a little down, just ask them what’s up. It doesn’t hurt, does it?



If you yourself are struggling with suicidal thoughts, click here. But hey, this is only an opinion! Agree? Disagree? Let’s discuss!


  • hasnadiaries
    15th May 2017 at 7:52 pm

    I actually made quite the same reproach about Jessica getting help, it just didn’t make sense. Apart from that it was such a good series 😊

  • Nashra
    Nashra Usmani
    15th May 2017 at 7:54 pm

    I agree, it was interesting to read! Perhaps not life changing as some say, but not bad either. Need to watch the Netflix series someday 🙂

  • Herlene Fernandez Somook
    16th May 2017 at 2:52 am

    I’m coming from a place similar to Hannah Baker, and yes it is true. There are times when you can’t get help, because you don’t even think about getting it. In my case, I was also suicidal and turned to alcohol to numb the pain.
    The only difference was I had people who cared enough to stick through my darkest times. My adoptive parents were there to help me even if I didn’t want help. I also had God who sent angels during the most desperate moments.
    I remembered the time when I would sit inside the church, just crying my heart out and strangers would approach me. It might sound cliche, but they said the right things. Just enough for me to realize that there are people who want the best for me.
    I took so long to realize this. I had a victim mindset and felt like I couldn’t do anything about my situation. It was like I had no choice but to accept the cards dealt to me. But when I started hanging out with the right people, I learned that I had a choice on how to react to the situation. So I started thinking like a survivor and now I am stronger because of it.
    Killing yourself is never the answer, however tempting it is. I just wish kids would be more open to talking to their parents and parents would be more interested in hearing what their kids want to say.
    While it was uncomfortable to read the book, I felt relief knowing I wasn’t alone in this. I just wish people had an open mind about it, and not block it as something so negative. The book presents itself as a conversation piece, making it easier for all of us to talk about how we really feel. It shouldn’t be shelved just because it discusses someone’s choice of death. It should be something that we use to celebrate life with all its pitfalls and triumphs.
    If you’re going through some hard times, don’t get tired of reaching out. Everything on earth is temporary. You just have to hang on. Brighter days will come. That’s a promise.

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      16th May 2017 at 3:08 am

      That’s exactly the point I was trying to make, you aren’t helpless. There are ways to get help, whether it be friends or family or a professional therapist. Having talked to certain people I value a lot about it, I strongly agree with you that suicide is never the answer. You might think you’re worth nothing but I can bet someone out there gives that little damn about you, even if it’s just a stranger, like I’m your church. We need more of these kind people in the world, I’m so glad you found your support and pulled through.

  • Karla
    16th May 2017 at 3:17 am

    I suffered from suicidal thoughts and I got help. Now I feel better. I do not want to die anymore. Yes help is available. Yes we can be helped 🙂

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      16th May 2017 at 1:34 am

      Yes, exactly, you are not helpless if you are depressed. I sincerely hope you’re doing infinitely better now and continue to do so.

  • meltingpotsandothercalamities
    17th May 2017 at 2:42 am

    I haven’t rad or watched this, but from what I’ve heard, I agree with your points. From what I’ve seen discussed, this should’ve discussed the mental health aspect more, as well as shown more reasons for living than for dying.

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      17th May 2017 at 3:35 am

      Well yes, they should’ve at least shown that help is possible. I think the author failed to deliver that particular message but it’s the most important one for a depressed person reading this. It’s not a bad book tho, quite interesting, give it a quick read!

      • meltingpotsandothercalamities
        17th May 2017 at 2:00 pm

        Yeah, that’s basically what I heard. I’m still interested in reading it, so I may do that sometime.

  • Ameena k.g
    19th May 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Hi, so I started reading the book but I didn’t get through with it. Still though, I’ve heard a lot about it from others (including my sis who absolutely loves it). My issue with the series is a but similar to yours. Of course it was a great book and very well written according to me, but I feel for people who struggle with suicidal thoughts, it is a trigger and may appear that a person may suicide and leave a legacy by it. I’d rather, it had shown that you can survive whatever situation you go through,

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      20th May 2017 at 1:22 am

      Exactly. If suicide is the only thing that ensures up getting you positive attention at the end… Thats a bit unnerving, to say the least.

  • Tiffany Shand
    22nd May 2017 at 11:26 am

    I tried reading this but really couldn’t get into it.

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      23rd May 2017 at 7:50 am

      Maybe it just isn’t your type of book, I think it’s majorly appealing to teenagers only.

  • Madhavi Kale Bodke
    22nd May 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Your blog is interesting.. I think I am going to visit your blog very often.. I like your clarity of thoughts..

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      23rd May 2017 at 7:47 am

      Thank you, I really appreciate it!

  • neha
    23rd May 2017 at 3:39 pm

    I agree, parts of the book, as you have put, don’t seem to make sense. If you compare that to the real world, the outcomes would be different. It’s been really long since I read any such book. I will like to check it out when I get time.

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      24th May 2017 at 11:04 am

      Yeah exactly. YA books aren’t all bad though, I’ve heard good things of writers like Rainbow Rowell although I myself haven’t read any of his stuff. Perhaps check him out!

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