Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher
What we say and do matters. Even the little things. Because sometimes the little things add up to make a big thing – big enough to end a life.
Clay Jensen comes home one day to find a shoebox-shaped package propped against his door. Inside are seven audiotapes. Clay goes out into the garage and finds a tape player and pops the first tape into the player.
“Hello, boys and girls. Hannah Baker here. Live and in stereo. No return engagements. No encore. And this time, absolutely no requests. I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why.”
Clay cannot believe it. He had a crush on Hannah. How could he be one of the reasons why she killed herself? Although he doesn’t want to listen to the tapes he feels compelled to continue. And so begins a long tortuous night listening to tapes and following a map Hannah has prepared of the pivotal places in her life.
I read this book a week ago and have spent the time since thinking about it. As a teacher of middle school students, I am quite familiar with the callous way that kids treat one another. And as a victim of many comments when I was in middle school, I’m quite aware of the lasting effect these comments have on a person. But Hannah didn’t just suffer from terrible comments – there were also actions that damaged who she was. And in the end she couldn’t take it any more and she ended her life. And what makes it even sadder is that this story is so real – it happens all across our country.
I would highly recommend Th1rteen R3asons Why. It’s simply wonderful.