5 Star Reviews

#BookReview (5 Stars) – Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher @jayasherguy @penguinrandom

Blurb:

The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

13

My Review:

I’ve actually been putting off writing this review. I finished this book well over a week ago, and had I written a review straight away, it would have been a rambling mess of emotion written through my own tears.

This book isn’t perfect, and there were things that occasionally irritated me about the characters, but I am giving this book 5 stars because of the intense emotional impact it had on me. If you have never been bullied, then you are unlikely to experience this book in the same way I did. If you have been bullied in the past or are being bullied right now, then I suspect you will find this book very emotional, especially if you have ever reached the stage of not knowing how much more you can take.

Even two weeks on from starting this book, I’m still not sure how I would have felt if I read this book as a teenager during the time I was being bullied. Would it have helped me or not? I really can’t answer that question.

I started feeling suicidal in my mid-teens due to bullying. Luckily for me, my parents worked out something was wrong, and managed to get me to open up. They contacted the school and put a stop to it. This book made me question what might have happened if the bullying hadn’t stopped, and I’d slipped deeper and deeper into depression. Would I have ended my life? What a huge loss that would have been.

When you’re young everything seems so overwhelming. A broken heart is the end of the world and you’ll never love another person. Humiliation means you can’t show your face in public ever again. But now I look at all the things I’ve experienced and achieved since a decade of on and off bullying during my years at school. I wouldn’t describe myself as confident, but I certainly have much higher self-esteem than when I was at school. Over the years I’ve got very good at pretending to be confident, and that really helps you get on in life. My life is far from perfect, but focusing on the positives helps me deal with the negatives. I experienced my first love, my first job, studied a fascinating degree at university, made loads of wonderful friends over the years, met my husband who I’ve been with for twenty years, run my own online retail business, lived all over England, had dogs of my own, seen my extended family expand, and of course, read so many wonderful books. To think I might have given all that up because of bullies that probably don’t even remember who I am!

By the end of this book I was so emotionally drained after my mind had spent three days back in the corridors of my old school. It did raise another question though. What would past bullies think of this book? Would they even accept that they were bullies at school or have they conveniently forgotten that? Would they make this book out to be trivial? Perhaps it would remind them of the thrill they got out of bullying the shy kid at school, or would it make them feel guilty about their actions?

If there is anything to be learnt from this book, it is to treat people kindly. Listen to and be there for friends and family. Even those that appear fine may be struggling with something in their life, and you could be that person to help them open up and deal with it. Smile at strangers in the street. Talk to the person all on their own on the bus. Don’t underestimate the power of compassion. You might just make that person’s day and perhaps even change the direction of their life!

If you are reading this review and are a victim of bullying or feeling suicidal, please believe me when I say there is a way through it and things can get better. Your life is yours alone. Make the most of that life. Stay strong!

*Sigh of relief* I managed to write this review without crying. Just. Phew!

5 Stars

 

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Where to find this book:

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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12 thoughts on “#BookReview (5 Stars) – Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher @jayasherguy @penguinrandom

    1. I hadn’t even heard of it until quite recently when I saw the series being advertised on the TV. Then I saw people having discussions about it online, and discovered there was also a book, so decided I’d read the book before watching the TV series. Hopefully I’ll get to watch it at some point soonish. I’m intrigued how it will come across on TV. I reckon it would make quite a good audio book because of the way the majority of the story is told through cassette tapes 🙂

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  1. I was also a victim of school bullying. Kind of ruined my school memories.

    Parents should teach their kids to respect their classmates and should appreciate them to open up if they are being bullied at school. Friends should confront the bullies together and should contact the school counsellor and authorities.

    Its my personal experince that ignoring the bullies or showing any cowardness and failure to confront them makes them more determined to bully us. Bullies are actually people wih lower self esteem. Bullying others make them feel better amd poweful. So all other students should come forward together to make it clear to them that this isn’t the right way and bullying doesn’t make them powerful or better. It is actually other way around.

    Btw I loved your review (although I rated this book only 3 stars).

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    1. I’m so sorry to hear you were bullied too. It’s such a miserable existence. I remember dreading going to school.

      I agree with what you say about bullies and how they should be approached. It’s just so much easier to say that when we’ve come out the other side. Bullies deliberately find easy targets (the kid that is so shy they’d never stand up for themselves, and the more they’re bullied, the less confidence they have). There should definitely be classes that discuss how wrong bullying is, and encourage other students to either report it to a teacher or stick up for a kid they see being bullied. I don’t personally remember any lessons like that when I was at school.

      Thank you. I’m so pleased you liked my review, even though you didn’t enjoy the book as much 🙂

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  2. I’ve seen so much negativity about this book and mixed about the TV show. I was never bullied at school but have been bullied as an adult and I’ve tried to take my life several times, a convenient side effect of bipolar, this book leaves me all kinds of curious but I think it probably cuts a bit too close to the bone for me.

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    1. Sorry to hear you’ve been bullied too. I’ve experienced adult bullying as well, and it’s not fun 😦 Personally, based on what you say about your bipolar and attempting to take your own life in the past, I’d say this isn’t a book for you. I feel like I’m in a pretty good place at the moment, but really struggled with the emotional impact of this book, so I think this is very much a book you can live without reading 😉 xxx

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