Hmm. I wanted to like this book, I did. It came with good recommendations, and it’s even on one or more of those award lists I’m reading from for my YA lit class. But except for maybe twenty or thirty minutes, I spent the six and a half hours of audiobook rolling my eyes and bitching at Hannah. I’m not thinking I was supposed to do that. I am really getting old before my time.
The story revolves around Clay Jensen, who gets a package of thirteen cassette tapes in the mail. He is intrigued by this strange anachronism and begins listening to them, only to find out that they are essentially the last words of Hannah Baker, a girl who committed suicide a couple weeks back. On each tape Hannah details an event or person who made her life so horrible that she was driven to kill herself, and instructs the listeners to pass on the tapes, lest a second set be released to the general high-school public for everyone to listen to.
So on the one hand, it’s an interesting read/listen, because most of the events are teeny-tiny things that no one would think anything of on their own, but you can understand how the combination of all of them might make someone want to just disappear off the face of the earth. However, I had a hard time thinking of these things as being enough to make someone want to stop living completely. There were a couple of events that made me think, “Wow. Those suck. I would probably go into a very deep depression if those happened to me,” but those were completely unrelated to the other events and as such I think Hannah’s cassette package could have been much smaller.
I imagine that back in high school, when I was even less popular than Hannah Baker (but didn’t have any crazy rumors floating around… that I know of…), I might have connected more with this book. As it stands, I was a little too busy thinking about how stupid Hannah was to think about other things, like how her situation might apply to my life or how I might go about being nicer to other people.
Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.