Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is a novel about a girl who commits suicide and leaves a set of tapes behind to explain why she took her life. The reasons why she took her life revolve around a series of hurtful actions by multiple people that eventually snowballed until she had no control over how others perceived her.
After reading the story, I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. How many times have we said things to other people that were hurtful out of spite and never thought twice about it afterward? How many times have we done hurtful things and never apologized?
It’s really scary when you think about it. It’s almost as if you have the power to influence others emotions, actions, and self-esteem simply through a few words. You never really realize this power until something happens as a result of it, and by then it’s usually too late to repair the damage.
Another thing that fascinated me was the concept of leaving something behind to explain one’s perception on certain events after they are gone (I’ve always been fascinated with this idea– it’s partially why I own a journal). The tapes are a bit to chilling for my taste though– something about hearing a dead person’s voice after they are gone seems a bit too eerie.
It did not, however, change my perception of suicide. I’ve never seen suicide as a solution for any of life’s problems, even when I’ve been quite depressed. I can’t decide if I love life too much to even consider it or if I’m simply too stubborn to not go down swingin’.
Whatever the reason may be, I simply have never viewed suicide as an option or a solution for anything. My end-all solution for problems that seem “too difficult to handle” has always revolved around running away. I’m not quite sure why, but running away seems to have the allure of being able to start over, escape from the problems, and have the option to go back (if you choose). However, there are a lot of complications involved with running away, and I’ve never seen it as a legitimate solution for any of my problems (besides, the past usually has a way of catching up to you).
(Editor’s note: Don’t worry, folks– I’m not planning on running away. I’m simply discussing my thoughts on it.)
Basically, Thirteen Reasons Why provided me with three things that I appreciate:
- A compelling story that kept me up until 2 AM (and continues to leave me going back through the book at various points).
- A realization of what my thoughts and actions have on others.
- A look at a morbid topic that isn’t discussed often, and the importance of maintaining hope in the darkest times.
It’s a fantastic book, and definitely something I would recommend.
Keep it fresh! (Whatever the hell that means….)