Thirteen Reasons Why has been edited by Rushi Bhimani.
High school is not an easy place to survive if you have no one to get through it with. And Thirteen Reasons Why, is a book that will send you on a trip down the memory lane, making you relive all those traumatic high school experiences. The book has thirteen chapters which portray the life of a troubled and misjudged girl. It does not solely cater to the idea of suicide and its consequences. From rumours to false accusations, from homosexuality amongst teens to familial issues, the book has it all.
The story revolves around Hannah Baker, Clay Jenson, who is her friend, and other kids at the school. The most engaging thing about the story is how it is being told. Clay narrates the story, as he deals with Hannah committing suicide and is handed over thirteen cassettes, recorded by Hannah herself before she dies (Or does she?). The girl, across the tapes, talks about those who abetted her suicide.
You might be thinking, that, “Well, so what?” So what if she personally targets everyone who bothered her at school? Everyone has good and bad days. Everyone suffers from different hardships at school. It is an imperative part of anyone’s teenage years. But let me tell you what is different here. The secrets this story reveals gradually, keep you involved. You cannot help but relate it to your life. You find yourself in the book as one of the characters, and your friends as others, only to realise that at some point during your lives, you have hurt someone badly.
The story makes you realise the importance of each and every person around you, and leaves you hollow at a certain point, wishing to undo things in your past as well. If you have read a lot of young-adult novels, you will not miss a chance to relate to every small detail once in a while. It would not matter whether you are a girl or a boy. At some point, you will feel like crying. It could be because you too have friends going through similar issues, or because you know someone who does, or maybe just because you are a good person.
The story also depicts Clay’s life, who is deeply in love with Hannah. How he wants to ignore every little rumour he hears about her, and yet he cannot. Asher has depicted the confused and fucked up state Clay is in, very well. Until his tape arrives, the book demands your undivided attention and makes you increasingly curious.
“How could such a sweet person be a reason for her death?”
“What possibly he could have done that made his way into the list?”
As it progresses, it makes you stick around. You do not want to miss how Clay would avenge her death, do you? Everyone is distraught at the thought of how Clay would react. All the other characters are trying their best to stop Clay from doing a particular thing.
The author’s depiction of the phase that Hannah’s parents go through is gut wrenching. As if losing their kid, who was normally very cheerful, was not enough, not knowing the reason behind her suicide, surely aggravated their situation.
The story is not just about that. Every time Hannah addresses the perpetrators, it sends chills down your spine because you feel that she is talking to you. I would like to share one such instance:
Cassette 1: Side A
Hannah: “You all might be thinking, Hannah Baker is a slut, right? Oops, did you catch that? Hannah Baker is. Can’t say that anymore.”
Now just imagine, most innocent, a kindhearted person listening to this. Just think how he might feel. But you do not have to, Asher has got you covered.
Apart from suicide, and rumours and peer pressure, the story also mentions an important evil. The evil that is pervasive all over. Toxic friends, lying around in one’s life. How mistaken you are when you think they have your back. How they prove you wrong every fucking time. Yet how you forgive them, again, just so that they can stab you in the back, again. It would not motivate you to leave those friends, but it would definitely make you wary.
Thirteen Reasons Why depicts a lot of different emotions, which I am unable to mention here (because, spoilers). The book is a weekend retreat to your heart’s most troubled issues. Read it to find that you, you are not alone. A lot of other people face similar issues and you can overcome them.
For those who are not book lovers, Thirteen Reasons Why is also a TV series, available on Netflix.
You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret… is to press play.
Author’s Note: Feel free to add your views about Thirteen Reasons Why, for not all of us have the same reactions.
To read more by the author of Thirteen Reasons Why, click here.
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