Straight up, I can understand why Netfix has adapted the story. I first heard about it on Youtube as an advert for the television series, of course I was disappointed because I don’t have Netflix and will never “Netflix and chill” with someone. It was later in the book department of the shops that I discovered it was originally a novel. And I do love reading. So it became part of my collection. But, if I’m lucky and one day find the series on DVD, I will not hesitate in purchasing it and reliving the pain.
Hannah Baker committed suicide. Everyone knows she was a freak and a slut, just listen to the rumours. Thirteen people are learning that’s not true. Hannah has left behind her suicide note, 13 cassette tapes, to be listened to and passed along to the next person on the list. These people are her reasons why she ended her life. Eve Clay Jensen is on the list.
It is beautifully written. Asher has amazing skill to maintain two first person narratives; Hannah on the tapes and Clay listening. Don’t worry, you won’t be confused or turned around with who is speaking. They have distinct voices and the formatting of the book lets us keep up (thank you).
The realism of it all is scary. How did Asher know so much about being a teen girl? How much they’re judged and compared and lied about? Or how much it hurts even when the situation isn’t “that big of a deal”, nothing serious like rape or abuse, no just words or a leering look or unwanted touching or a reputation that s undeserved? How did he get it right? Because of the realism, it hurts so much more. Every time someone else betrays Hannah and she becomes more isolated. Every time she tries to ask for help. The final two chapters where I nearly screamed but did cry.
I love this story and hate it. Too many emotions all at once. So much shit that Hannah had to deal with that should never have happened. The loss of hope.
Clay plays off Hannah so well. I shouldn’t say play, they seemed better at communicating through the tapes. He is a sweety. But his flaw is hesitation. He hesitated with talking to Hannah, stepping in when seeing a jerk being heavy handed with a girl, and doing anything really. Which makes him just as guilty as the rest.
Secretly, I had hoped that Hannah was still alive, that it was a suicide attempt. I wanted her to live. To be honest, I didn’t expect her reason for suicide to be a snowball effect; lots of little things to begin with that grew and made her more isolated until death was the only option she saw. I didn’t know that could happen. Always thought it would be about something big and singular in life. We impact each other’s lives but the only life we ever know everything about is our own. Please don’t assume or be offended when pushed away, ask the questions and help.