You don’t know what went on in the rest of my life. At home. Even at school. You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life, but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life.
This is what Thirteen reasons why is about. When I picked up the book, I didn’t know it was a teen/young adult novel. Now that I have read it, I think it is limiting itself to a specific audience by saying it’s a teen/young adult novel. It is so much more than that. The deep issues that this book touches upon are not just teen related. They are issues that we all need to think on, contemplate upon and keep in mind while we go about our regular business.
Thirteen reasons why by Jay Asher is about a girl who commits suicide and leaves behind a series of tapes explaining why she did what she did. She sends it out to the people she feels are responsible for it. The author has brilliantly tackled this issue with such sensitivity that I was left speechless after reading it! The unique way in which it was written kept me engaged at all times (I finished the book in 24hours). Very very few authors do that to me!
Through the whole book, you are left thinking why the girl killed herself. Nothing in her story may seem big enough to you. But then you ask yourself, “Is it for me to decide what is big for her and what isn’t?” And that is what the author is trying to tell us, I think. That we may think that we played a harmless prank on someone, or the words we said were meaningless and didn’t need to be taken so seriously, or it was just one day that we ignored someone or didn’t pick up/return their call. IT WASN’T A BIG DEAL. But we may unknowingly set off a chain of events that we did not intend to. And we need to understand that and take at least some responsibility for it.
All through the book, I kept asking, “Was this big enough to actually die? Isn’t she making a mountain out of a molehill?” And then, as it usually does, it dawned on me, it isn’t about what I think is big enough. It is about what the other person thinks is big enough.
We do not know the battle that the other person is fighting. We do not know the pain that the person is in. All we can do is empathise and try to understand it in the best, most sensitive way we can. These layers that take up space in our conscious and subconscious are inexplicable to most of us. So be present, be sensitive, be empathetic. You don’t need grand gestures. This will be enough.
This beautifully written book leaves you with a sense of heartache that is hard to shake off.