Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Review #4 - Thirteen Reasons Why

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher

A brief synopsis; (Via Goodreads)
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Now, I bought this book the same day I bought 'We Were Liars', and finished it a day later. Let me just hit things off straight away with this:

This is not a good book. I could probably even give you thirteen reasons why, but for the sake of your sanity, I won't.

First, and this is just me being picky, but what the hell is with that cover?! She doesn't even look like a teenager! I don't know, but I would expect the girl on the cover to at least resemble the characters in the book.

But let's go back to the topic at hand: the actual book.

(13) Reason's Why Clay Is Not a Good Protagonist:
He is weak. He is annoying. His reactions are atrocious at best. ("You hear your dead classmate and crush's voice on a tape recorder two weeks after she died, saying you are part of the reason she died, how do you respond?" Appropriately: 'What the !@*$' or Clay-ly: 'What? No!' Hint: it's the former) He's faceless- not once do we find out what Clay looks like. Is he bald, muscular, pimple-y? Who knows? Not us!

Okay, so that's not 13 reasons, but I'm sure you get the gist of what I'm trying to say.

And I'm not trying to flame the book, or anything, I'm just sharing my honest opinion. I don't particularly favour this book, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. And there was some good, too.

Now, as the story progresses, I will admit that Clay does become more real. He improves, as does Asher's writing. Starting off, the book is very much like The Light Keepers, in that the style is choppy. But alas, it does improve.

I don't know if this next part was deliberate or not, but I found that Hannah was much easier to relate to than Clay. She seemed to have more person about her, a lot more character. That could, perhaps, be because the whole story is essentially about her. Clay doesn't really have a significant part, and most of the book is spent reliving her past.

Now if that was the author's intent, then I would like to say congratulations to you, Mr. Asher, because you achieved your goal. Well done!

Hannah's background is explored in so much more detail than Clay's. Through the double narrative, we're able to learn everything as possible as we can about her as a person- even about her hair cut!

The one thing about this book, though, is that it is not here to entertain. Sure, there are funny moments with the occasional witty one-liner, because what book doesn't have that?

No, what this book does it make you think. It really makes you evaluate your life, and the way you treat people. The repercussions that your actions have, no matter how small you may think them to be- they're always going to be a big deal to somebody else, and I think it's important that that is the lesson we take away from this book.

That no matter who we're talking to, we need to think before we speak or act. Because anything and everything can have a negative effect on somebody, and we need to prioritise our life and the lives of everybody else and their happiness above all else.

So, I don't know about you, but after reading this I am definitely going to make an effort to be more alert to people's feelings. I don't ever wish to experience a tragedy like Clay, and it's clear that at the end of the book, he doesn't want to experience it again, either.

I think a short follow of this book would be lovely to read, and not to spoil anything, but I think Clay's doing the right thing when he makes that conscious effort to stop one more tragedy.

Star Rating: 3/5

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