13 Reasons Why
By Jay Asher
Very recently, a former student of mine committed suicide. I remember being shocked by the news, looking at pictures of this smiling young girl, hearing her laughter in my memories, going over snippets of conversations we had. It was very difficult for me to understand why anyone with such a great personality and so much to offer the world would choose death over life. This novel, told in the deceased girl, Hannah’s, own voice through taped confessions sent out to those 13 people she deemed most responsible for her state of mind, is riveting to say the least. While the novel may not answer the question of "Why?", it certainly redirects the focus not on Hannah, but back on the reader. Through Hannah’s stories the reader sees how Hannah becomes caught in a world where small injustices begin to pile up. While reading Asher’s novel I began to think, have I been one of the "13 reasons" for someone else? Was I a "reason" for my former student? Without being at all preachy, Asher shows how easy it is to become a "reason," and offers implied advice on how one should lead life.