Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Hell Reviews: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

Synopsis: You can't stop the future. You can't rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.
Clay Jensen returns home to find a strange package with his name on it. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker - his classmate and first love - who committed suicide.
Hannah's voice explains there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself and Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why.
All through the night, Clay keeps listening - and what he discovers changes his life . . .

This is one of those books that I picked up on a whim and kept on my bookshelf gathering dust for a few years.

Before working in my current job I always found that I tended to stick to the same kind of reading pattern and I was still learning, even at the age of eighteen, what 'my thing' was outside of manga.
In the past I'd picked up varying horror stories, ranging from kids to adults, picture books to novels, and very rarely did I delve out of that kind of genre. Which isn't something I'd do with the media I'd watch, I could tune in to all kinds of shows without needing them to be ghost based.
From time to time I found myself picking up a crime book from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation or the one Criminal Minds one I've read (I still have two more to read and I've had them for years) and I have read two biographies by two different comedians, otherwise I pretty much stuck to my basics of reading whilst still buying books from all kinds of genres about all kinds of subjects that got put to one side and never read, something more ghost based would usually be picked over it.
Eventually I jumped into new genres and began to whittle down my 'to read' pile when I didn't have a stack of about twenty four manga book to catch up on.

It wasn't until about May of 2015 that I picked up this books, finally ready to find out all about Hannah and why she committed suicide. The concept interested me and it seemed like my kind of thing, unfortunately it didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Now don't get me wrong it was fascinating, but I think that even at only twenty five I was perhaps too old for this book.

I couldn't sympathise with Hannah, nor really care about her problems as they all seemed rather trivial and nothing that far from what others dealt with. I know, people deal with things in different ways but this just felt like a bunch of tapes of happenings that she would have gotten past had she just fought and continued to push through things.

Most of her points could have been: A: easily avoided or B: easily ignored.

With her personality it seemed like she would have been able to brush these things off fairly briskly and move on in life, none of them seemed overly traumatic and in some cases she seemed to be the antagonist which caused it to happen. However she also isn't all that unique, she's still the 'deep', 'philosophical' girl with 'out there, radical' ways of thinking that a lot of teen female protagonists seem to be.

Then again everyone thinks differently, everyone has a different upbringing so maybe some people find it relatable and can understand her. I sadly didn't and found myself either questioning her actions, double taking at them or simply rolling my eyes at some of the things she said.
I only finished the book purely because I wanted to know what else was contained in the tapes, otherwise I would have had no reason to continue as I didn't care about any of the characters which is a shame, it had so much potential.

Clay is just find of there and ultimately had no real reason to be the main focus of the ones listening to the tapes, I feel it may have been more enjoyable if we followed as the tapes were being passed around and seeing the reactions of each character mentioned.
As a main boy he was just your typical 'could be any guy' character with no impact, the only reaction I ever got based on him was a little giggle as his name reminded me of a love child between a character from Friday the 13th (2009 remake) and one of the leading men of Supernatural...well...technically both of them seeing as the other lead plays Clay in the film, but I digress. That doesn't stop him from being boring, bland and a main character with no lasting impression.

All other characters I have honestly completely forgotten, along with most of her reasons why and most of the story really. I had to actually look back and re-read my old review and bits of the book to remember why I didn't enjoy it.
It's ultimately a forgettable read with unrelatable characters, a book that I feel doesn't help portray the thoughts and actions of a suicidal teen, but what do I know?
The premise is interesting but the execution isn't.

Would I recommend it?
Sure, but not all too enthusiastically.

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