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Customer Review

99 of 130 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A horrible and potentially costly message, September 30, 2008
This review is from: Thirteen Reasons Why (Hardcover)
This is my first review on Amazon, and I am only doing this because I feel it is necessary to warn people about this book.

The character that is giving the thirteen reasons for committing suicide is not looking for help, and at every opportunity, pushes those away that are interested in trying. She feels the world revolves around her, and looks for reasons for suicide because other people don't feel the same way.

Half of all high-school girls will go through most of what Hannah went through. It is sad, but that is teenage school life.

As the book continues on, it becomes harder and harder to feel sorry for Hannah. She is guilty of the same lack of effort she chastised everyone on her list for.

At the end of the book, the only people you feel sorry for are those Hannah calls out (with 2 exceptions), as they now have to live with the idea that because they did not put Hannah before them in all things they were the cause of her death.

This book sends a horrible message, and will be extremely confusing to teens that are facing real problems with depression, as they see a girl that has plenty of reasons, none of which are anywhere near as bad as theirs, and lose all hope for themselves if someone with so few real problems wasn't able to find a way to get through it.

The writing is great and the premise had such incredible potential, but was wasted when Hannah was written as the whiny girl looking for excuses.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 9, 2009 5:09:51 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 9, 2009 5:10:58 AM PST
I think that this book has sufficient supporting numbers and places included in the book for kids to access if they are contemplating suicide. I also feel that this book may become one of those that is read multiple times in life, once when young and once when mid-20's or older, in a similar fashion to Catcher in the Rye, to illustrate the hopelessness and immaturity that young people have.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 12:32:53 AM PST
Claudia says:
I have to say I kind of agree with you. The only bit I don't agree with is that Hannah expected people to put her before everything else. I don't think it went to THAT extreme, but it did come close and her complaints were quite petty.
Like you I am afraid the book will be misinterpreted by a lot of teenage girls.
Also in regard to the comment below- I read this in New Zealand and the supporting numbers listed were all American.

Posted on Feb 16, 2009 7:07:24 PM PST
gram says:
Thank You so much for this intelligent review. I had the same feelings without even reading the book...I thought it sent a negative message that could possibly harm a young teen who may be facing a serious problem and this book validates the feeling of hopelessness. This is the ultimate guilt trip!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 5, 2009 6:58:38 AM PDT
Sharon says:
Actually... it kind of encourages teens even more when we read this book. In the end Hannah kills herself anyways after seeing a guidance counselor. Not exactly an encouraging book to read if you are contemplating suicide.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 28, 2011 1:48:27 AM PDT
Tara Blanco says:
Hannah killed herself after seeing the guidance counselor because he failed at doing his job (I think that was pretty clear from the dialogue and Clay's reaction) and he didn't stop her. He was basically the last thing that might keep her from killing herself, if he showed that he really cared and could help her, and he failed.

Clay basically yells at him through the narrative not to let Hannah leave, and even after Hannah's out of the office, even when she's waiting to see if he'll open the door and come into the hall to stop her, he doesn't. He does nothing. He just lets her go, and because of that, Hannah concludes that while people care about her, they don't care enough to stop her, so she goes ahead with her plan.

I didn't consider the book a guilt trip for the reader. Maybe for the people who got the tapes because they contributed in some ways to Hannah's death (or to someone in a similar situation), but when I read it, the story's message seemed to just be "Mind what you say and think to and about others, pay attention to people, and if you think something's wrong or could be wrong or might go wrong, do not ignore it or think someone else will take care of it."

If you're getting negative ideas from a book, I suggest sharing the book with others and discussing it. You all can get new ideas about what the text means and you might see it differently, or even if you see in the same light, it could change your line of thinking.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2012 5:05:52 PM PST
Gigi says:
Tara Blanco, I agree with you that the story's message was "Mind what you say and think to and about others, pay attention to people, and if you think something's wrong or could be wrong or might go wrong, do not ignore it or think someone else will take care of it." I just think that Asher delivered this message in a heavy-handed, somewhat sanctimonious way. Hannah performed manipulative little tests on people and when they didn't respond the way she wanted(really? she's upset because the old man backing out of his driveway doesn't ask a strange random girl what she's doing? really??) she gleefully added them to her list of big meanies who ruined her life. She seeks all her self-worth through other people's opinions of her, all the while adamantly insisting she doesn't care what anyone thinks of her. The guidance counselor didn't handle it wonderfully, but he tried- he called her name and asked her not to leave several times. Not enough for Hannah- he had to physically chase her to prove how much he cared. She also willingly got in the hot tub with a guy she knew was a creepy rapist (oh yeah, because she watched him rape someone and did absolutely nothing to stop it, but then didn't hesitate to trash the rape victim on her tapes. Hannah expects everyone to help her but doesn't lift a finger to stop a girl getting raped.) and then is furious that Courtney Crimsen just leaves her alone with the creepy rapist. How is Courtney leaving her alone with Bryce any worse than Hannah watching Bryce rape that other girl?? For all Courtney knew, Hannah WANTED to hook up with Bryce. She did voluntarily get in the hot tub, and if Courtney was hanging out with him alone, she clearly wasn't scared of him.
I don't think this book is supposed to be a guilt trip, but I think Hannah comes across as very unlikable and mean. I think it also sends a message that people who commit suicide are whiny, vindictive brats rather than people in a very dark and sad place.

Posted on Jun 12, 2012 9:35:02 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 12, 2012 9:35:29 AM PDT
T. Lewis says:
Maybe it is about showing how unimportant her reasons for depression are.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012 6:26:56 AM PST
Tara, I agree with you. read this book and I got the same message from it as you did, "watch what you say"

Posted on Jun 7, 2015 8:15:31 PM PDT
Christina says:
I think the even more potentially harmful message is the one the reader gets from Clay's perspective. He thinks he could've stopped her and that he is at fault for what happened. This perspective is never corrected by a peer, or an adult, or a counselor, thus making it seem valid. Another innocent teenager should not be put in a position where they are the thing standing between a peer and suicide, especially a teenager who did no bullying throughout the book at all. I worry that this book will intensify feelings of guilt and responsibility in teens who have friends who have committed suicide or are having suicidal thoughts.
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