Thirteen Reasons Why – A Review
How would you feel if you turn out to be a recipient of a box of cassettes out of the blue on your way back home? That’s pretty fascinating, right? The first thing that you might want to do is tear the box apart, internally cursing and questioning some unknown sender because, admit it people, who listens to cassettes these days anyway? But here’s the catch. Those cassettes were recorded by someone from your school who died two weeks ago. Creepy, right? Thirteen Reasons Why is exactly that. It takes on a ride to ‘creepy-istan’ and brings you back to a point where things start getting reasonable and comprehensible. Thirteen Reasons Why is a novel by Jay Asher which was originally published in October 2007. The title suggests an effect brought by a series of events, more specifically reasons which leads to something that is exclusively revealed quite at the beginning. (No mysterious there.) Hannah Baker is a sixteen year old teenager dealing with the pressures pertaining to high schools from all angles in her everyday life.
The author perfectly brings up the issues that bothers a teenager in high school but they’re afraid to share them with their parents. It lightly touches upon the struggles of introversion, how attending a party becomes a chore rather than a source of enjoyment. It also throws light on the well-known excuse a the student all over the world – “school-project”. “Staying out late? School project. Need extra money? School project.” The book however, does not highlight the solution to the teenagers reading the book, and rather showcases a grim and funereal end of Hannah Baker, which, on some levels, in my opinion, can be seen as a limitation.
The story basically begins with Clay Jensen receiving a set of tapes recorded by a girl who had died two weeks ago, with no address of the sender. The story gradually unfolds and we realize that the thirteen tapes that she has recorded are for thirteen specific people who are also the reasons why she decided to kill herself. (Creepy, right?) That’s not all of it. She urges the receivers (people who are the reasons and are part of her list) to forward it to the next person on the tape. The book is mostly a one-sided conversation between the tape and Clay’s reaction to it highlighting the background of the incident in consideration. Clay is also accompanied by his friend Tony in the later part of the book. The book is pretty organised and an event leads to another event in a perfect sequence which the protagonist calls the “snowball effect”, since a series of fake assumption contribute in building her false reputation. It is a young adult fiction, a tragedy but mostly a psychological thriller. The language too is pretty clear and credible. However, some readers might not feel satisfied at the end since it is an open-ended novel. (You are free to weave your own conclusion). It is a pretty short novel and I completed reading it within 24 hours, not just because of its length but also because of its unconventional plot. It keeps the readers hooked and you unfailingly dig into the next page to find closure. That being said, Thirteen Reasons Why is an interesting read and you should definitely read it at least once.