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‘. Yes, 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!