Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Published: 2007
By: Penguin Random House Audio
Publishing Group 

Source: Borrowed
Format: Audiobook
Length: 6 hrs., 24 mins.

ISBN:  9780739361238

– Goodreads

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I know anything I say at this point will have already been said. I’m sure quite a few of us who had this title on our TBR list quickly pushed it to the top when Netflix released the series – I know I did, because I have a certain rule: read it first before you watch it. Sometimes there are titles out there that I may never get around to reading, or I’ve heard it’d nothing like the book, so I trust there aren’t going to be a lot of spoilers.This one, however, I didn’t want there to be any surprises. Although, I might be changing my tune when I get around to watching the series. The premise of the book and the critique I’ve heard of the show seem conflicting. Perhaps the show takes a more dramatic turn building up greater anticipation for the inevitable end the author set about, or maybe those that watched the show had not read the book and didn’t realize how dark a person can get when their contemplating their own lives.  I don’t know! I’ll try to be sure to write something on my take of the two when I finally watch Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why.

On to the book.

I wasn’t sure how I would react to this book. I didn’t realize that this book was going to be narrated by a silent witness rather than the main character. I’m going to be perfectly frank, this book was sad, but not in the boo-hoo-sad-kind-of-way, but I felt Clay (the guy listening to the tapes) was trying to justify his actions for not noticing the signs sooner. Perhaps my reflection of this book will be about the fact that people don’t speak up sooner in situations they think they might be of help to somebody else, and if something did go wrong then we start our own journey of reflection and try to figure out what could have been done differently or maybe even blaming the victim; use them as a scapegoat for your actions.

In Thirteen Reasons Why, is the break-down of a teenager pointing fingers at the people who only escalated and antagonized the issues that lead to her self-destructive nature and, ultimately, her demise. Often the reasons are justifiable. I know some people may not agree with me or her actions, but after witnessing some of these reactions first-hand – I know it’s not all sunny and easy to get the help even when it’s completely available. And even at that point, it might be too late and the “right sequence of words” will be enough just to push a person over the edge.

I’m not a huge fan of Clay, I don’t know why. Perhaps his reactions were too raw or maybe how he was portrayed as innocent until proven otherwise felt too personal. Maybe he just didn’t seem to act like a teenager about all of this. I would not have wanted to know how this story would have played out if we were listening to Jenny’s perspective or any of the other characters that had actually hurt Hannah’s soul. The juxtaposing characteristics of Hannah versus Clay, perhaps that’s why the focus is on him and how he feels while listening to Hannah’s tapes.

Overall, I did enjoy this book, but not in the blithering-OMG-squeal-worthy kind of way! My emotions of this book are super somber and are quite difficult to put into words. Sobering. Real. Raw. Just to name a few. I hope with books like these people can become more aware of who is around them. Clay did something at the end of the book (does this count as a spoiler?) he finds the courage to reach out and talk to somebody he thinks might disappear from peoples memories if they aren’t spoken to. Is that vague enough for those of you who had your hands over your eyes?

PS:
Perhaps, by the time you get to read this, I will have already started watching the show and will have a quick follow-up review comparing what I like and don’t like between the show and the book – who knows?

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The Books I Read Growing Up

Hi all!

As I sit here watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), it had crossed my mind – like so many times before – that my childhood reading habits seem quite limited to what my peers were introduced to in their youth. Maybe habits isn’t necessarily what you could call them, but just lit in general. So I’ll give you a quick background about me and then delve into some other stuff.

I was born in a small town in Northern Ontario (pop. ~2500), the nearest major city was a three-hour drive. I attended a K-8 French Catholic school which consisted of an auditorium/gym, a small library, and a large school yard which backed onto a treeline (think it hid an old cemetery, but that might just be kid rumours). Anyhow, we went to the library about once a week, the library had everything ancient and dated; from microfilm, slides, and a card catalogue – I know it sounds like I’m aging myself, but the school was built in, I’m guessing, around the mid-70s after the mining boom had happened and people were starting to really root themselves in the area.

Focusing on our little school library, the contents ranged from really old non-fiction (I remember checking out a book on pigeon keeping, and then trying to convince my parents that it was a good idea!), volumes (probably Readers Digest). Very few of the non-fiction contained pictures with colour. Overall, it was shelved upward, so the books towered over you in a dark corner near the front of the library. Moving inside there were a lot of mass market paperbacks like Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones movie tie-ins, a range of books from a French publishing series called Courte Echelle, which were pre-teen introduction to novel reading, and then the French editions of Noddy (Oui-Oui), and the Tin-Tin comic books. That’s all I really remember about my library. It was window-less and had poor lighting – needless to say nothing exciting. The English books I read were titles like the Chicken Soup series or when I hit the third/fourth grade and the teacher would read us a book from the Adventures of the Bailey School Kids (circa from the 90’s) by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Jones. At home I was reading Archie comics, the colourful Sunday comics, and book about breeds of dogs – nothing exciting honestly. I read Romeo and Juliet in the 6th or 7th grade, by myself, so I guess it’s something.

{This is not my collection, thanks Tumblr}

The librarian did host Scholastic Book Fairs (who remembers those?), and I know I was lucky to get a few titles a year and a poster to cover the brightly painted pink walls of my room. And, unless I’m wrong, book fairs then are the same as they are now – which means profits from book fairs are meant to be used in the library. The mystery question is: Where did all the money go!?!?! The other curiosity regarding the collection is whether or not the limit of newer book titles was because the school, or perhaps the librarian, was censoring the content and decided they’d only buy certain books – I don’t know what those were since I don’t think I’d ever seen a new book on the shelves.

All I can say is before my family and I moved from Ontario to Alberta, I was reading Harry Potter, I don’t remember who introduced me the series, but I remember that much!

Needless to say, I’ve realized over time that what I’ve read growing up in Ontario is very different from my peers who were introduced to books like Le Petit PrinceA Wrinkle in Time, and titles by Roald Dahl. People will recollect their reading memories and I can barely remember what I had for breakfast this morning, quite frustrating.

Your turn

What says you? What kind of books were you reading as a kid? Can you share my mystified confusion sentiments? Did your school library have a limited collection of would have been “current” for that year? Or did it seem to cater more to the younger grades in the school and less to your age-group?

 

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Review: As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley

Series: Flavia de Luce, book 7
Published:
 2015
By: Penguin Random House
Audio Publishing Group
Source: Borrowed
Format: Audiobook
Length: 10 hrs, 52 mins.
ISBN: 9780449807644

Goodreads

Once again I’ve been blown away by Mr Bradley’s ability to weave a wonderful story! If you’ve followed along the plot of this series, Flavia is growing up and getting too smart for her own good.

After her mother’s body has been returned to Buckshaw, Flavia has been “banished” to Canada to be enrolled in a finishing school in Toronto. To think it might be all too easy for Flavia’s life to become a tad simpler after leaving her tiny town and fewer mysteries would land in her lap, but that’s not the case at all. Within the first evening of being at Miss Bodycoat’s a cadaver has fallen out of the chimney, along with a very living student, and Flavia has become enthralled with the mystery ever since!

This particular story has many twists, and unexpected secrets that I enjoyed throughout and made the story much less suspicious – for me, anyway. I highly recommend, if you haven’t already, go pick up the first book of the series and get started right away! Flavia is a funny character and too smart for her own good sometimes and that’s just the fun of it all.signature

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