Thursday, September 19, 2013

Everyone should read this book.

As soon as I saw the Book Chat prompt for this week ("a book everyone should read once"), I knew exactly which book I was going to choose:

Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher
In fact, my review on Goodreads was simply:
"Wow. Just wow. Everyone should read this book.
It could change your life."

In anticipation of Banned Books Week next week, it's worth noting this is one of the most challenged books of 2012. I'm guessing this is because of the main topic: teen suicide. The reason I recommend the book to everyone, despite its tragic and often difficult-to-stomach subject matter, is because I think it really shows readers why it is so important to think about how your actions and words affect others.

This is something I think about often. It's so common today to hear phrases such as:

"You're retarded."
"That test raped me."
"That's so gay."
"I'd kill myself if that television show got canceled."

But what if the person you're casually talking to—probably not meaning any offense at all, I realize—has or knows someone with a learning disability? Or has been sexually assaulted? Or isn't heterosexual? Or is struggling with depression and/or has had someone close to him/her take his/her life?

I read a negative review of this book on Goodreads that also made me think. Without giving away any spoilers, this particular reviewer said "the reasons leading to Hannah Baker killing herself were not believable enough for me." Well, isn't that kind of the point of the book? Just because you don't think something you did or said was significant doesn't mean it didn't significantly affect someone else. And ultimately, it doesn't matter what you intended; what is important in the end is how your actions or words were interpreted by others.

Have you read Thirteen Reasons Why? What did you think? If not, will you ever read it, or is teen suicide an untouchable subject for you?

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Jenn @ Lost in the Right Direction said...

My sister read this book and always talks about it, so it is definitely on my list!

Jen Mc said...

I'm adding it to my list. Thanks for the recommendation!

Anonymous said...

I read this book and definitely found it interesting. I work with adolescence, so it was pretty haunting for me.

Ashley @ ThisUnscriptedLife said...

Just added it to my long list of books to read =)

I think teen suicide is becoming more and more common. Which is so sad. I think a lot of it has to do with the social website filled world we live in now. You don't have to be picked on at school in front of anyone. Bullies don't have to show their faces. It can be done through your computer or even your phone all alone in your room. There wasn't Myspace, Facebook, or Twitter when I was in school and I'm glad!

I'll definitely read this book.

Erinn C.D. said...

YES. To all of it.

Here's my review of it on goodreads:

I stayed up through the night reading this book two years ago and I've read it once since. It still make me cry like a little girl.

The themes in it are just so important for all the reasons you said above. Nice pick

Patty said...

Reading it right now. First couple chapters are pretty melodramatic, but I'm holding out judgment because I trust your book recs!

Anonymous said...

I'm adding that to my reading list. I'm in my early 23s and still feel like 'adults just don't get it' when it comes to teen suicide. People don't seem to understand that it's not about how YOU perceive the world. If you say or do something to someone, you can't control how they perceive that action. This hits home because I remember being very young (younger than high school) and thinking about suicide. I don't even know how I knew that word, yet. Worst of all, the few adults I tried to confide treated my issues like they were nothing. To an adult mind, those issues may seem trivial; in reality, they are trivial. That doesn't matter when one's mental state views the issue as a life or death situation.

I talk openly about how I felt when I was a child and why I felt that way. From people who are more than 20 years older than me, I get a shrug and off hand 'well, it's super you didn't do it.' People my own age still get it. We still remember how it felt to be bullied and feel like the world hates you. To feel alone in how you feel as if you have been singled out for despair. I hope people who read this book have a similar experience to you and keep an eye for someone who may be in need of help.

Kate @ Another Clean Slate said...

Adding this to the top of my To Read list now!

Jessica Bucher said...

I tear up just reading the synopsis of this book. I need to read it, but teen suicide is just too too heart breaking for me. But it's real and we can't ignore that.

Thanks for co-hosting and for sharing such a great post.

Unknown said...

I am definitely going to add this to my list! I would love to see Wonder on some required reading lists in middle school :)

Dana @ Kiss my List said...

Adding to my to-read list now! My college roommate took her own life when she was 23 - it's not only teens who are at risk. But as the mom of a teen and a tween, I need to read this book.

Kate @ Daffodils said...

Im going to check this out, it sounds really intriguing.

Trish said...

I'm planning to read this book as I heard a lot of raves. Thank you :)

Fran said...

This has been on my to-read list for a while, I need to get to it pronto.