Everything I Found Wrong With Thirteen Reasons Why
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Everything I Found Wrong With Thirteen Reasons Why

This isn't a bad book, but it has bad moments

Everything I Found Wrong With Thirteen Reasons Why

Last week, I read Jay Asher's bestselling novel, Thirteen Reasons Why. I avoided reading it for some time because the summary did not reflect the things I look for when I go to read a book; I look for happiness, mystery, adventures, maybe romance. The story of a poor unfortunate soul who explains her reasons for committing suicide is not my idea of a literary escape.

Yet when I finished it, I realized it was not as bad as I thought. It was quite compelling and raised awareness of teenage depression. However, Thirteen Reasons Why did have its flaws.

Here are some things I misunderstood/disliked about Thirteen Reasons Why (Including direct quotes):

1. "A hurried scribble on the wrapping addresses the package to Clay Jensen, So I pick it up and head inside" (5).

I'm sorry, Clay, but if you find a suspicious-looking package with no return address outside your door, head to the police. There could be something dangerous inside!

2."'Mom, you scared me,' I say. 'It's nothing. A school project'" (8).

Well, it's the twenty-first century and just about every teenager listens to cassette tapes at a really late hour of the night as part of a school project. Nothing suspicious there, son! Yeah right. What kind of parent would believe this excuse without question?

3. "...At that moment, I grab for the Walkman. Just like that. Without thinking" (33).

I'm confused here, Clay. If you said the "school project" excuse works on everybody, why didn't you use it on the owner of the Walkman? Would have saved your criminal record, bro.

4. "You voted me Best Ass in the Freshman class. How could anyone be angry at that?" (37).

It's an insulting and degrading thing to be recognized for, that's how. Maybe I'm uptight and old-fashioned, but wouldn't you rather be voted Most Likely to Succeed?

5. "That's when Wally made a sound. His mouth stayed shut, and it was nothing more than a quick click of the tongue, but that little noise took me by surprise. Inside, I knew, Wally was a ball of rage" (48).

Hey Wally, a customer just got sexually harassed in your store. Are you going to do something more about it than click your tongue? Maybe, I don't know, kick the idiot out? Call the cops? Clicking your tongue isn't really enough of a threat.

6. "'We had one class together,' she says, 'but we didn't talk much.' She looks a little familiar. Maybe her hair's different" (70).

Hey Clay, here's a thought: Why not ask her name? Just say you're terrible with names (which you clearly are) and you don't remember her name. But do you ever ask this random woman her name? No. Why? I don't know, which makes your interaction with the waitress completely pointless. If you had asked what her name was, maybe her part could have been bigger.

7. "Who knows where I'm standing right now?" (75).

Gee, Hannah, I have no idea. As a matter of fact, where in the world did you record all of these tapes without any interruption whatsoever? Not to sound harsh, but where were you during your last few hours?

8. "And I always keep my windows open, about an inch or two, to let in the fresh air. Which is how I knew someone was standing outside" (80).

Don't accuse me of hating on Hannah; I too have been bullied, but not to the point where I want to kill myself. This makes me hurt for her. But Hannah, does your window have curtains or blinds? Your peeping Tom could have been stopped this way if said features were present. You could leave your window open and your blinds closed. Breeze in, creeps out.

9. "Having a Peeping Tom is kind of... I don't know... sexy" (84).

Yeah, nothing says "I love you" like a stalker outside your window.

10. "I can't tell if anyone's still there, beyond the brick-and-ivory column, sitting at her table. A table that, at one time, was Hannah's other safe place" (89).

Nowhere on the tapes did Hannah indicate which table at the café was "her" table. How does Clay know what table it is?

11. "But of course, you denied ignoring me at all. You said I must have misread things. And the party would be a good chance to get to know each other better. And although I was still suspicious, you are who you are and everyone wants to go to a party with you.But you knew, Hannah. You knew, but you still went. Why?" (100).

Yes, Hannah. If you had a bad feeling about this person, why didn't you listen to your heart?

12. "You opened the passenger door, sat down, and buckled up. 'Thanks for the lift,' you said" (101).

Hold the phone: This person INVITES you to go to a party with her, then she enters YOUR car and says "Thanks for the lift"? This is the part when you say "you're welcome!" and kick her out of the car.

13. "You told me not to leave you. 'You're my ride, remember?'" (103).

Some friend: "invites" you to a party, treats you as a chauffer, and ignores you at said party. If I were Hannah, I would have told this girl to get another ride and leave. That's just cruel.

14. "I filled mine [dating survey] as Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye...What a horrible first date that loner would make" (122).

As a lover of modern classic literature, I'll have to disagree with you on that one, Clay. Just think about the conversations you could have with Holden. They might not be pleasant, but Holden is just such a fascinating character. Dating him would not be so much depressing as it would be interesting. But that's me.

15. "Not just joking around like last summer at the movie theater" (125).

Last summer? Movie theater? What? We don't find out about this until at least ten pages later.

16. "So I fished out my phone, and answered it. 'Hannah Baker,' I said. 'Good to see you'" (129).

You're talking to someone on the phone, not Face-Timing them. Therefore you shouldn't say "Good to see you." Awkward sentence is awkward.

17. "I made her promise not to tell anyone until the next day, just in case" (132).

Hannah?! Seriously?! Why didn't you just tell her to mind her own business and keep her mouth shut? Hannah, Hannah, Hannah.

18. "It's like whoever wrote this note just wants attention. If they were serious, they would have told us who they were" (171).

This is my biggest problem with the novel: the ignorant characters like this one. This statement is shallow and shows how little this character knows about depression. Most people who are depressed don't feel comfortable expressing their emotions.

19. "Mrs. Bradley passed out a flyer called The Warning Signs of a Suicidal Individual. Guess what was right up there in the top five? 'A sudden change in appearance.' I tugged on the ends of my newly cropped hair. Huh. Who knew I was so predictable" (173).

One: Hannah, you're not predictable; you're crying out for help. Your cry is sadly being ignored by your godless peers.

20. "Why did I listen? Why did I leave her there? She needed me and I knew that"(216).

So why didn't you stay, Clay? Be a man, man!

21. "Nobody obeys Stop signs anyway" (244).

Except for everyone who lives in the suburbs.

22. "I'm not trying to be blunt here, Hannah, but you could move on" (278).

WHAT?! One of your students come to you to talk about her depression (which is a struggle in itself, see number 18), and you tell her to "move on?" You call yourself a dean? Disgraceful.

Now, to be fair, I didn't hate Thirteen Reasons Why. I just found a few things wrong with it and there were a few things I was unclear about. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I just expressed mine.

What do YOU think about this book?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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