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Michael's Book Babble

I'm an indie author and a scribbler of inane babble. I talk about books I've read/liked. Or at least, that's the plan.


Most of the reviews will be considered "mini-reviews." Usually, it's mostly my reaction to what I've been reading. There are people who are far better at doing full and helpful reviews. But I still have fun doing them, and hope you enjoy them!

Just as devastating as the first time, if not more so

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher

You can tell how powerful a novel is when you decide to revisit it. Especially when it deals with such a terrible subject--but a subject that deserves to be explored and understood. It must've been two years ago or so when I experienced the tragic suicide of Hannah Baker. And her story isn't any easier to deal with this second time around, but it's brilliant and urgent.


The story begins with high school student Clay Jensen receiving a box of cassette tapes. When he pops in the first tape, he hears Hannah's voice. Through these tapes, she gives us thirteen reasons why she did what she did. Twelve names. Clay is one of those names, too. Because that's why he received the tapes. As he listens to find out exactly why he's one of her reasons, he also goes through a terrible and sorrow-filled journey of a troubled girl who nobody cared to reach out to.


This novel shows how even the slightest incident can snowball into something bigger in the end. True, none of these people on Hannah's list could've ever expected her to do what she did, nor could they ever see how their actions would eventually lead to her end. It's a sobering reality that almost everything we do in life can have consequences, big or small. What I like about this novel is that it's not trying to excuse Hannah for what she did. Suicide is a very touchy and tricky subject. Everybody has their own different take on it, and I thought the way it was handled in this book was excellent. Hard to read and endure, but excellent.


This second time experiencing it, I realized I’d forgotten about some of the “reasons.” Hearing them again is like hearing them for the first time. And it’s absolutely crushing. You’re drained by the end of it. Yet I found myself always thinking about it, and I always knew I’d revisit those tapes of Hannah’s eventually.


For this second time around I decided to listen to the audiobook--which I think is totally appropriate given that the focus of the story is listening to somebody else tell you their story. The audiobook flawlessly performed by Joel Johnstone and Debra Wiseman. Wiseman gives us a very convincing Hannah, and Johnstone is also great. Even if you've already read the book, I still highly recommend the audiobook.

Thirteen Reasons Why isn't an easy book to swallow, but it's a necessary one. And it's also one, as hard as it might be, that should be revisited. As sad as I found this story to be, it stayed with me and it's become one of my favorite novels. The last few paragraphs or so really hit home, and also gives you hope in humanity.


And boy, do you ever need it when you decide to press the play button and listen to the story of Hannah Baker.


5 stars