Recently, suicide has been a very important issue that has affected many teens around the world. The sad truth is, it's very difficult to understand the reasons why someone would make that horrible decision and it leaves people with many questions. However, in Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Hannah Baker takes the guessing out of the reason she ended her life by leaving tapes that documented everyone that hurt her. More specifically, it focuses on Clay Jensen who was one of Hannah's closest friends. Each chapter follows the story of the thirteen people and how their decisions made Hannah feel like she had no other choice. It focuses on the guilt of her friends based on their major decisions and interactions with her.
Clay had known Hannah for a while and even had feelings for her so her sudden death left him heartbroken but the worst was yet to come for him. As soon as he pressed play for tape one, he was bombarded by resentment. “And if you're listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons why” (Asher 5). Not only did he feel hurt by the fact that he was blamed, he had to hear the fact that he was part of the cause. Knowing that his decisions had such a big impact on Hannah made him feel shocked and unhappy. The author portrays Clay's sadness in a way that the reader can connect to the same guilt. “and that’s why, right at that moment, I felt so much hate. Toward myself. I deserved to be on this list” (Asher 161). Clay's true feeling are shown when he listens to every tape and it is shown very clearly throughout the book.
This book is unique because it is a great example of how the little thing you can say to someone have a big impact. For example, randomly complimenting someone is so important because you can never know how much it could mean to someone going through a hard time. But someone on the tapes took that away from her. “It might not seem like a big deal to you, Zach. But now, I hope you understand. I needed those notes. I needed any hope those notes might have offered” (Asher 161). After hearing how something that could be taken as a joke made someone feel so terrible, it can make someone feel very bad about what they have done. Most people don't realize how something they say or do can lead to harsh decisions.
After reading this book, I became more aware of this issue. Not everyone may have these problems, but it is important that we understand this very sad problem. The guilt that Clay felt made him feel responsible and in the end, he suffered the consequence. Throughout the book, each person feels the same guilt and the author makes it relatable. While the consequences dont directly show, living with the feeling of doing something is something we all can relate too and the characters show that. This book showed me that certain mistakes can have even more serious repercussions and how it is vital to watch what you say. It shows how every interaction with a person affects them in some way. It can be big or small but our responsibility as a member of society is to always be kind towards each other because if we don't, it can be a big deal.
As their tapes came to an end, the characters start to realize their missteps and mistakes they made. The decisions they carelessly made, led someone they knew to end their life which is a scary thing to deal with. But the vivid detail provided a good insight towards their thoughts on the whole situation. This book serves as a good reminder for a relavent issue today. Would you want to watch the tv show of the book? I hope this blog inspires your next reading!