16

BOOK HUNGRY: A Twitter Book Club -- Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Posted by Elizabeth Ryann on 8:53 AM in , , , , , , , ,
This month's selection was Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why.  And if you haven't read it, then careful, because my review is chock full of spoilers.  Though once you've read the summary, there's not really much left to spoil.  This is one of those books that's more about the journey than the destination, since you're aware from the beginning how it's all going to end.

I didn't love it. It felt self-indulgent, and it made me feel like a jerk for not caring that much about Hannah. I did like Clay a lot, but I thought what Hannah did to him, and Mr. Porter, and even Tony, was ridiculously cruel, especially while she was indulging herself by encouraging so much negative attention.

And I'm sorry, sometimes a haircut is just a haircut. It is not always a cry for help. Everyone gets split ends.  I was planning on getting a haircut this month actually.  (NOTE TO MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY: I'm doing okay, I promise.) If that was really her one big gesture to the world that they should be nicer to her because she was suffering from depression, then I don't think she was trying very hard. And it didn't even really seem like she was depressed. Instead, it seemed almost like she was empowered by the negativity of it all, so she constantly sought it out. (Not that what the other people did was okay, at all. But for heaven's sake, she could have reported things to the police or someone at school: peeping Tom, the car accident, the rape. This particular crowd would likely start to avoid her. They didn't strike me as super motivated bullies.)

See? I told you it made me feel like a jerk. It was just that Hannah was so incredibly passive throughout the entire thing that I couldn't help but get frustrated with her. Obviously, these tapes are her revenge/justification, but I feel like the way she was treated at school probably had a lot to do with that attitude. If the only thing she responds to is negative attention, and she consistently places herself with people that she knows will provide that, and she never ever seeks out anyone pleasant, then she is, in a way, sowing what she reaps. She herself never reaches out to a single person. She never makes an attempt to help Jessica. She never even really clears up what went on with Alex (and what the hell happened at that coffee shop that Jessica attacked her and left a fingernail in her forehead (??) and no one else seemed to notice? Why didn't someone call the cops or something? That was bizarre.) She never even approached Jessica herself, that was the guidance counselor's doing. She never sought out anyone else who was wandering around looking as friendless as she supposedly felt. It's not like she noticed Skye. Even with Clay, he sought her out at the party, he was the one who tried to talk to her at work.

It's just that, in order for the book to work, it had to deal with a big subject like suicide or rape. And that just left me with the same feeling that I usually got in writing classes, that the writer is talking about the subject that's the "deepest" in order to earn literary merit, rather than saying anything new. Yes, the message that you should speak up and talk to other people, especially ones you like or ones you notice might be having a hard time, is good. And I approve of that. But it all just seems really artificial, and I think that can be really dangerous when you're talking about an issue like this.

I should probably admit I have my own issues surrounding suicides, and those people left behind, because I feel like I'm certainly coming across like a cold-hearted snake or whatever. And those are probably informing my reading of this. But in the end, I guess the point is that I didn't really care for the book. It's not one I'll read again, though I did appreciate the way Clay's character was constructed from a writing standpoint. It was really easy to sympathize with him without him really doing much of anything at all, which is interesting. Little things, like his Mom bringing him the tapes and giving him cash to buy a milkshake, just really underscored how young and vulnerable he is, which I thought was well done.  Though I did think it was slightly strange that apparently two of his girlfriends (the only two girls we're told about that he likes, even) were suffering in such a way.  That seems like a really specific type, especially since we don't know much about either girl beyond her warning signs.

Anyway, I didn't love this, but the rest of the book club did.  Feel free to check out their reviews on their blogs:

http://karlanellenbach-lastword.blogspot.com/
patriciablount.wordpress.com
http://kellybreakey.blogspot.com/
http://vanessapnoble.wordpress.com/

Next month: Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Natural Born Charmer. Which I'm psyched about, since I'm a big SEP fan.  Spoiler Alert: I've already read it, and it's adorable!

|

16 Comments


Elizabeth, I really enjoyed this review...not because I didn't like the book. I LOVED 13 RW. What I liked about this is that I feel your opinion here. It's honest, and that's what being in a book club is all about. Not being afraid to tell how you really felt, even if it is not a popular or shared opinion. Also, you make some very valid points that upon reading them had me wanting to go back and scan certain scenes in the novel.

well done, you :)


your reviews always make me feel like i was reading with my eyes closed. i don't know how you do it or, for that matter, how i was reading with my eyes closed, but THANKS! keep it up.


Thanks for a different take on the book. That's what I love about reading all of Book Hungry's review--all the various perspectives.

You didn't come across like a jerk at all. I enjoyed your thoughtful analysis. :)


Haha, thanks, Karla!

Abby: Aww, wow, what a nice thing to say! Thanks. And maybe in this case...audiobook? It does seem appropriate. :)

Linda: Thanks, I appreciate it! It's just really hard NOT to feel like a jerk when your reaction to the whole thing is, "you're really frustrating and irritating me, dead teenager."


Great review...

One of the things that I loved about the book was that the author in no way says you have to feel sorry for this girl, instead, make your own opinion. There are moments where she comes across sad and lonely, while at others just vindictive and mean.

I positively can't wait to review next months book and am looking forward to discussing it with you, another huge SEP fan.


i love your honesty. Also, you have pretty hair.


you are in reality a good webmaster. The website loading pace is amazing.
It seems that you're doing any distinctive trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece. you've performed a excellent activity on this topic!


Feel free to visit my blog ... szczypiorno.info


The UЅDΑ and other food safetу experts recommend leaving pizzа out at room tеmperatuгe
for nο morе than twο hours. Ρeter Pіpеr Pіzzа
Couρons-Peter Pipeг Pizza Coupons:Pеter Рiper
Рizzа can be a famіly pizza chaіn οpеrating 45 companу restaurants and 60 franchises іnside the U.

Roll eaсh portion into the thіckness оf а
bгоom hаndlе.

Stoρ by my blog - pizza stone


Have you ever thought about ρublishing
an e-book οr guest authoring on οther ѕites?

Ι have a blοg based on the same ideaѕ you ԁiѕcuss anԁ wοuld rеally
likе to have you share some ѕtoгies/informatiοn.
I know my vіeωеrs would value your woгk.
If you are even remotely іnteгested, feel free to shoot me
an emаіl.

my web ѕite; edu.ar


I visited various sites however the аudio quality foг audіo songs current at this web page is gеnuіnely wonԁerful.


Stoр by my ωeblog :: Chemietoilette


Ι pay a νisit еach day a fеw web pages and blοgs to гead postѕ,
hoωеver thiѕ blog offers quаlity based cοntent.


My web site; Augen Lasern


The only hurdle to accessing this is of course human limitations
and the fact that the brain does not function solely as a learning
tool for the human being. Popular prizes include sports tickets,
cash and vouchers for drinks, food - and dollars off
of tabs. Theme Format: It is almost like standard format of the pub quiz.


my homepage ... pub quiz and answers general knowledge


Narrow blood vessels lie alongside the intestines of the earthworm and they absorb the nutrients from the alimentary canal feeding
the rest of the body. * Team answer sheets
- Basically a grid lined A4 type sheet with answer write
in numbered boxes and a line on top for the team name.
Theme Format: It is almost like standard format of
the pub quiz.

Review my site ... good pub quiz names


DJ spins out on Saturday nights. Popular prizes include sports tickets,
cash and vouchers for drinks, food - and dollars off of tabs.
Her father, Bruce Paltrow, produced the critically acclaimed TV series that
is considered the precursor to many medical shows today, St.


Feel free to surf to my webpage - great pub quiz names


On Sunday nights Erin Jaimes hosts a blues jam where
anyone from Alan Haynes to Gary Clark, Jr. At the end of each
round read out the cumulative scores. The
decline of the East side blues scene was disheartening, but, it also
gave rise to the need for a fresh start, which came in the
form of the next blues-only venue, Antone's, founded by the late Clifford Antone, during the summer of 1975.

Here is my page - free pub quiz and answers


It's really very complex in this full of activity life to listen news on Television, thus I only use web for that reason, and obtain the most up-to-date information.

My website - aguadilla

Post a Comment

Copyright © 2009 Elizabeth Ryann All rights reserved. Theme by Laptop Geek. | Bloggerized by FalconHive.