Saturday, May 30, 2015

You can’t go back to how things were. How you thought they were. All you really have . . . is now

I read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher years ago, but I had an urge to revisit it. Honestly, it still held the same impact.

Hannah Baker commits suicide, and only a few weeks later Clay Jensen receives a package in the mail. This shoe box full of tapes will soon reveal the full story Hannah has left behind, and these tapes will change his life.

Before Hannah dies, she records herself reflecting on the thirteen reasons that lead to her inevitable downfall. Each tape has two stories, each story targets a different person and their actions, and each story is just a small piece that leads to her ultimate death.
Clay continues to listen to Hannah's stories, and he continues to wonder where he fits into this puzzle. He had a crush on her, he wanted to be with her, so how can he possibly be a reason leading to her demise? But the more he listens, the more he realizes that each person mentioned on the tape had something to hide, and each one of them should be utterly ashamed for their actions. However, not one of them realized their misstep would be piling up into the dark depths of Hannah's life.
Hannah's story goes through awful rumors, horrible jokes, and ghastly experiences that built up to such a boiling point, Hannah saw no way out. The more Clay listens, the more he realizes the signs were there, but everyone failed her. The tapes are reminders to him and every person who was sent this box of cassettes, that even the smallest actions have consequences; some that you are unable to see.
This novel truly sticks with you. Hannah's voice is so prominent throughout, and you almost feel like you want to try to help her too. But when everyone lets her down, her depression seems to worsen. It goes to show that even a tiny action, positive or negative, has an affect on people. Sometimes, it has a deeper affect than we would like to know.At the end of the novel, we as readers are hopeful that things will change. Clay reaches out to a fellow classmate, and we can assume this is how the tapes will leave their positive influence.

Hannah's story is not much different than a lot of students in the world today; and I think that was what left the biggest impact on me. We don't realize the impact of words, and we don't realize that everyone's "bad day" is different. I recommend this one to all my students because it is important, especially in today's society, that they be aware that every thing they do has an impact of some kind. It could be small, but even a tiny good deed always means something to someone. If Hannah's tragedy teaches readers anything, it is to always find the good because sometimes that good really can bring change and acceptance.