Book Review – Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. 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.

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Review:

I finally read Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and just in time for the new Netflix tv show based on the book.

It’s such a heartbreaking story, about a young girl who had her whole life ahead of her and she threw it away.

I’ve seen that some readers have left low reviews saying that Hannah let small things get her down, that she died for nothing.

But they weren’t small things. Hannah’s suicide – it was such a waste. But that’s how depression works. Insidious. How it creeps up on you and you don’t notice until it’s too late. How your life feels hopeless. If you’re not strong enough, can’t will yourself out of it, it can drown you. And when you’re drowning, you’re unable to call for help, unable to accept it when it’s given.

She got to a point where she lost any self-respect for herself. She didn’t have the willpower or the courage to do the right thing. That, more than anything, drowned her.

Why is it so hard to do the right thing? For people to be considerate? This book didn’t just portray Hannah’s decisions but the other kids involved in her life who were selfish and who used others to benefit themselves. How many of us can say we would have done the right thing in her shoes? It’s easy to say it, but harder to live it when you see the injustice and cruelty happening around you. Do we really know what a person is truly going through?

The one I felt the most for, was Clay. It’s the people left behind who are the ones who hurt the worst.

Jay Asher wrote a story which emphasized real issues that are happening in our high schools, issues like bullying, peer pressure, sexual abuse, stalking, rape. High school should be a safe place and instead, it’s a minefield. How many kids end up drowning under those problems? How many are like Hannah? Who don’t have anyone to talk to, someone who listens to them? Who are misunderstood? Who feel invisible or who are crushed down by other people?

Thirteen Reasons Why was a well-written story. Maybe it can sensitize others into thinking of the consequences of their actions and give them the courage to do the right thing.

S.R. McKade

Dream = Hope

“I have spread my dreams under your feet.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
― W.B. Yeats

What are we without dreams? Often, I ask myself why I write, why I keep at it even in view of criticism and negative reviews. I know the answer, even when discouragement makes me question myself again and again.

The answer—I write because I have stories to tell, stories that won’t let my mind rest, stories that need to be told. Words have power. And by writing the stories in my head, I bring them to life. Give them power.

Of course, I want to write a bestseller, touch thousands of lives, maybe make them better. What writer doesn’t? But I write because I have to.

We wake, work, do what needs to be done, deal with our responsibilities and obligations, go to sleep at nightsome, exhausted. Others, restless, unable to sleep with our busy thoughts or worries keeping us up. And we wake up to do it all another day, and another.

Food, water, exercise and work feed our body, education our mind.

Dreams feed our soul. They are what give rise to music and books. To art. 
“Dreams nourish the soul just as food nourishes the body. The pleasure of the search and of adventure feeds our dreams.”
― Paulo Coelho

Without dreams, a soul can wither because there is no hope. What are we without hope but hollow shells?

I wonder sometimes if dreams aren’t what give us courage—the courage to face the hurdles of our lives day after day. I believe even in the hardest times of our lives, we should have dreams, for they give us hope. Hope for a better future.

S.R. McKade

Ramblings

Waiting is one of the hardest, strenuous things in life. Waiting for the stuff you bought on Ebay to finally get here already. Waiting for that promotion you’re tirelessly working for, night and day. Waiting for an agent or publishing house to reply back and not just with any response, mind you—a positive one.

Waiting to get started on that project you’ve been yearning for since forever. Waiting for things to go your damn way for once. Waiting for news of a loved one at the hospital. Waiting for the One to finally show up on his freaking horse and ride off with you in the sunset.

Waiting, waiting, waiting. Waiting’s one of most damnedest, nerve-racking, trying things—on your mind, your emotions, your health. Hardest on your soul.

I’m one of the most impatient persons in the whole damn world. And patience—don’t get me started on freaking patience—is so not a virtue. I wish I had the patience of a monk, one of those Buddhist monks for example who seem to have an unending well of patience. How do they do it? Trust in a higher power? Ye Gods, they can wait forever.

However, even though Patience is not a virtue, Impatience has one big downside. By wishing for things to happen faster, you lose something very special. The ability to savor life as it goes by, to appreciate every moment that comes, be it good or bad. Because once time slips by, it never comes back again, unless you have a time-travelling machine, of course. Or if you were a hot, totally cool vampire who had all the time in the world.

Isn’t there any vampire out there who’d turn me into one and offer me eternal life, please?

Oh, the things I could do if I had all the time in the world. Waiting would be a breeze. Ah well, one human life is all we get and we have to make most of it.

Live it well.

Regards,

S.R. McKade

Blessings in disguise

When I look back over the years and reflect over the things I’ve done or didn’t do, the bad and good things that happened, I had quite a few regrets. Regrets over how I should have done this or handled that or things I shouldn’t have done.

Even though I had regrets, every little thing that happened, molded me into the person I am today and I find myself lucky to be who I am.

Perfect in my imperfections

Besides, everything’s always clear in hindsight 🙂

There have been a few times over the years when I’ve wished – if only I could go back and change the past. Don’t we all? But I think, looking back, that I wouldn’t change a thing. Even the bad stuff.

Because the bad stuff made me grow, deepened my thoughts and my soul. Made me become stronger. When you let yourself despair, when you let the bad stuff crush you and keep rehashing the past over and over again, you don’t grow. You become static, stale, unaware of who you are, cut off from your soul. I chose to accept that everything bad that occurred, happened for a reason.

Every bad thing that has happened to me, turned into a blessing in disguise or I should say, I searched for and found the blessing in it.

There’s a big difference between how you view the things that happen to you. You can chose to fold under them or look them in the eye and say “I’m stronger. I will get through this.”

There’s a prayer I’ve always believed in, no matter how hard things get:
“The Serenity Prayer (extract)

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.”

When one door closes, another opens. All those clichés are really true. There’s always a way out. You just have to look hard enough to find it. Things are never as desperate as they appear to be.

When you feel as if everything’s hopeless, learn to bear it with the faith that it will work out or that something better will come out of it.

Find a way to wield a positive spin on the bad stuff. For me, sarcastic humor always helps. 😀

humor

Find your silver lining. Grow strong like an oak tree and in the face of cyclonic winds, stand tall and true. Grow.

Regards,

S.R. McKade