Suicide is a difficult subject to write about. The author can't gloss over the subject nor can he or she dramatize it into a soap opera. Because in reality, suicide is a tragedy that can happen to anyone, anytime. A few weeks ago, our school was rocked by the news of a girl who killed herself. And that girl had been my best friend in middle school. The news was heartbreaking, especially when I found myself reflecting over the distance that had grown between us.
Anyway, the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is a story of teen suicide that perfects the art of walking the middle ground between teen angst and hope. The story is a sad tale of Hannah's suicide. She sent tapes out to all the people in her life that contributed in some way to her suicide. My review can be found here.
In general, Asher gives Hannah the most humanity of all the people in his book, even though you only see her through her recordings. And Asher knows, I think, better than anyone how to portray Hannah's spiral into depression. Suicide can happen to the happiest of people. Take Hannah's first story for us: her first kiss. I won't spoil the story, but every flashback into Hannah's life brought a little more sadness to my heart because you do know that once the tapes run out, Hannah's story is done. And it makes you afraid to let yourself feel for her story. Yet, it's impossible not to feel sympathy and sadness for Hannah.
It's an amazing book that makes you think hard about life and consequences. Please read it.