We’re well into the readathon now, hope everyone’s doing well! Today’s challenge is hosted by Amy at Bursting with Books so check her blog out, so lets get started!
Ok, so the book I’ve chosen to talk about today is Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Wow, this is already controversial. I rated this exactly three stars, which is low on my rating scale (3 stars is actually the lowest I’ve ever rated a book), so I’ll try to explain why I rated it this. I just want to start this by saying that if you enjoyed this book, then I’m super happy about that, and I’m not saying that people shouldn’t read this, it just wasn’t the book for me. Also, I want to place a warning on this post, for anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts or a sexual harassment experience, and a massive trigger warning on the book and TV show. Please seek help and look after yourself, I’m sending you massive amounts of love. Also, in this post I’ll avoid blatant spoilers, but it will discuss questions raised and the material in this book.
Right, so, if you don’t know, Thirteen Reasons Why follows a guy called Clay whose friend/acquaintance Hannah has just committed suicide, and him receiving tapes that she pre-recorded to explain the thirteen reasons she committed suicide. It’s also been adapted into a Netflix series that’s been widely publicised, been praised and criticised. It deals with extremely mature content that I believe is really important to be talked about and discussed, including sexual harassment, bulling and suicide. I also wanted to mention that my opinions are entirely based on how it made me view the issues raised in this book, as I’ve been lucky enough not to struggle with suicidal thoughts or any sexual harassment experiences. So from now on, I’ll be talking about why I personally didn’t feel this book dealt with this in a brilliant way.
First off, I didn’t relate or connect to any of the characters. It really doesn’t take much for me to feel attached to someone at all, however I didn’t experience with this at all in the book. I don’t believe there was hardly any character development. I don’t think that there was even many healthy choices that almost any character made. Particularly with such upsetting content material, I expected to really feel for Hannah, and I didn’t at all.
Furthermore, it did read, for me at least, as a revenge story. ‘You did this to me, so I’m going to do this and make you repent what you’ve done for the rest of your life’, is kind of what it felt like. Also, I feel like the response from adults was portrayed inaccurately, in many ways which could be potentially damaging to a young person struggling with suicidal thoughts, as it is a very mature and healthy decision to seek help, and it’s heartbreaking that some people don’t receive help when they ask for it, but I don’t want what happens in it to discourage people from telling someone.
Finally, the thing that most upset me about this book was the fact that it didn’t mention mental health. I don’t know how to explain how irresponsible this decision felt to me. Over 90 percent of people that die from suicide have a diagnosable mental health disorder, according to http://depts.washington.edu/mhreport/facts_suicide.php therefore you can see that it would’ve been so beneficial to raise this point in the story.
There were positive aspects – it was gripping, and included an important message of being as kind as possible which everyone can learn from, but I just wish a lot was done differently.
Lots of love,