By: Penguin Random House Audio
Length: 6 hrs., 24 mins.
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?
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?