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FatherCraneMadeMeDoIt

FatherCraneMadeMeDoIt

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher

I am going to do my best to sum up my thoughts and feelings about this book, but be warned, what follows will probably be a mess. I was really weary of this book. I kept putting off reading it, because I wasn't sure how it would handle the subject matter. I heard that it "glorified suicide" and that was something I knew I could not deal with. But once I picked it put, I didn't want to put it down. I finished it in a weekend. This is an amazing book, because it doesn't "glorify suicide". In fact, it does the opposite and that it what makes it so great. Yes, this is an entertaining book. It is suspenseful and mysterious. It feels true and satisfies that voyeuristic urge we as humans feel in regards to how other people live their lives. But it also does so much more. It talks about suicide. Not as a joke. Not as a plot device. It really talks about suicide. This book makes you listen to a person who died by suicide, really listen, and see the things that led up to it. I also wasn't sure about the concept of thirteen reasons/people that contributed to the suicide, but Asher handled this expertly. Instead of simply blaming people, he used this to show why we need to be nicer to people, because we don't know what's going on in their lives. He demonstrates why we need to be supportive and kind. And most of all, he calls out rape culture. All of the "little" things that happen in the book such as a slap on the behind or rumors of sexual activity contribute to Hannah's pain and each builds off the next. Rape culture is presented as a series of building blocks that act to "excuse" or "justify" horrible behavior. And Asher shows what this can ultimately lead to and why we cannot deny the impact of rape culture in our society. Reading the interview at the end of the book really drives home how important this book is. It makes the topic of suicide more acceptable and easier to talk about, which instead of "glorifying suicide", leads to people talking about it, seeking help, and taking the signs they see in others seriously. In Asher's narrative, it is clear that he talked to real women about their experiences and incorporated pieces of this into the book. It feels very real and many parts are disturbingly relatable. Suicide is such a taboo topic in America, but this book treats it the way it should be treated, as a real concern, not something to be ignored or vilified. Instead it shows why we need to talk about it and why we need to focus on how we can help prevent the antecedents leading up to thoughts of suicide as well as what to do when those thoughts to occur. A powerful novel with important messages and lessons.