Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 6:38:54 PM
Thirteen Reasons Why follows Clay Jensen, a high school student that finds a package on his front porch. Inside are seven tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and secret crush. After listening to the first tape, he finds out that he has received the tapes because he is one of the reasons why Hannah ended her life weeks earlier. Throughout the afternoon and well into the night, Clay follows a map with key points noted by Hannah, and listens to the stories of the thirteen people that had made her want to commit suicide.
This book means so much to me because of the time in my life when I had first read it. As an eighth grader with diagnosed depression, ineffective medication, and rarely successful therapy, reading about the reasons for fictional Hannah’s suicide provided me with someone I could relate to, but not to the point of furthering my depression. In a way, the gloomy premise of the novel helped me better understand myself and encouraged me to think about being happy again. Suicide, I realized, would affect a greater amount of people, as it did in the book, than I would anticipate.
Thirteen Reasons Why is the only book I have ever read four times, and the book I would choose to read for the rest of my life if I could only pick one. I continue to read this book because it has always provided a positive emotion when I have needed it. As a senior, I no longer struggle with depression, but Thirteen Reasons Why is impossible for me to stop reading due to its positive impact. It has a distinct style to it which allows the reader to follow the thoughts of both Clay and Hannah, and raises concerns for a topic, as melancholy as suicide, that isn’t very well expounded upon in today’s news. I can safely say that without this book, I wouldn’t have overcome my internal struggles as quickly or as successfully as I did, and I doubt I would have fully understood myself as I do now.