13 Reasons Why

I know that Anti-bullying month was all of October, but I think it is still really important to make this topic a constant issue that is brought to everyone’s attention. Bullying has always been a problem and the more people know what to do and how to fix it, the more attention schools have concerning the issue and can take action. 

I read this book a while ago, Thirteen Reasons Why.

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It is a 2007 New York Times best-selling-young-adult-fiction novel written by Jay Asher. This book is about the narrator, Clay Jensen, who receives 14 tapes and is instructed to listen to all of them. They are all labeled up to #13. The first tape mainly describes what the tapes are about. Each side of the tape is about one person who played some part in Hannah Baker’s reasons that lead up to her committing suicide. You have to listen to all the tapes in order to pass on the tapes to the person who’s story follows yours. 

Here’s the book’s blurb: 

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and crush – who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself-a truth he never wanted to face.

It is an incredible story that is truly different from anything I’ve ever read. I had never thought about a person’s thoughts and emotions when they are depressed and contemplating suicide. Asher is able to create this tale from Clay’s point of view, while accurately telling Hannah’s stories through the tapes at the same time. 

I would advise everyone to read this book. It’s a pretty easy read and hard to put down. But it does affect you and make you a little bit more depressed with each chapter as you follow Hannah Baker towards her depression and see that no one helps her. In fact, people make fun of her still. No one is there to reach out to her, when she only wants one person to show her they care.

Hannah says in one of her stories, “A lot of you cared, just not enough….Everything effects everything.”

As I read through this book, I became more conscious about others around me. Now I constantly think about this little saying I’m sure you’ve all seen that circulates the interweb:

 “The girl you just called fat?… She is overdosing on diet pills. The girl you just called ugly?… She spends hours putting on makeup on hoping people will like her. The boy you just tripped?… He is abused enough at home. See that man with the ugly scars?… He fought for his country. That guy you just made fun of for crying?… His mother is dying.”

Especially as an aspiring teacher, it is important to think about the background for our students and realized there is more to them than we see. You have to get to know people to understand them, and even then, you don’t really know everything about someone.

-Tara

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