Sunday, 24 November 2013

Book Review: 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why
By Jay Asher

Word-of-mouth, one of the most effective methods of marketing and promotion apparently. After all, nothing works better than somebody telling you that they've tried something and really enjoyed it. Your friend says she tried this new brand of shampoo and 'look at how shiny my hair is now!' Or strayed somewhere and 'you should go there too!' You'd pick that one over the others because you've been told by a reliable source that it is good and it does work! So that's the reason i hurried to read 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. After such high praises and strong recommendations from two friends, i had to get my teeth into this book and see what the fuss was all about! 

I hit the internet and quickly found an edition for my kindle. After all, 'it must be good!' Is what i thought, and thus spent my £5.49 and had to Wi-Fi'd on to my Kindle in seconds! And thus... i tucked in!

To start out with the story was promising. The setting was well delivered and i quickly had a clear image of Clay Jensen. The topic seemed a little cliche but it was mysterious, so 'Hey' i thought, 'lets see what rolls'.
I really like the format of the book. It is original (to me anyway). Set out in the format of cassette tapes. Each chapter a side of a tape before going onto the next, and a different story on each side. Delivering the story together this way held my attention, but i do say, that this was probably the only thing that kept me tied in. It slowly revealed this 'jigsaw puzzle' style story, knowing that they would all come together in a big finale at the end. And since she was relentlessly spilling all the gory details of her fellow classmates, it had to be juicy!

As a main character i was really quite disappointed with Clay. I was pretty disappointed as to his hand in the story. After hearing all about the perverted, sexist and cruel ways of the 'named-and-shamed', Clay's 'trial' was the most disappointing! I wanted the 'juice'. Mr. Nice-keeps his virtue and integrity. From some head-screwed girl who has found a reason to blame as many people as she can on her obsession with killing herself and deciding to destroy their lives by publishing them on cassettes, i thought she could have done better. No way should Clay get away lightly! If he was such a nice guy, he shouldn't have been in the circulation. After all, didn't she want to ruin all the people that caused her to top herself?!  He didn't belong there, so why was he? I thought about how the story would flow if Clay was omitted. and, despite having to get a new main character, the story would flow just fine, if not better. Writing from the sadistic view of Bryce would have put quite an interesting slant on the book. I'm sad to say that Clay, was one of the most disappointing main characters iv read in a long time.
I shan't go in to how pathetic I also thought he was. 'Hannah this...' 'Hannah that...', 'I love you Hannah', 'I tried to reach out to you Hannah' Blah Blah Blah!!! VOMIT!!!!!! My final verdict, Clay sucked, the end!

I'm sure in not the only one here, but being English, i have no idea at what age you are a freshman or sophomore or senior. I know i'm not alone as our very own DandyAndy had no idea either! So a bit of Googling summarised this issue for me:

Freshman - 14-15 years ols
Sophomore - 15-16 years old
Junior - 16-17 years old
Senior - 17-18 years old

So, Hannah Baker is about 15 years old. A stereo-typically 'accepted' age to be contemplating such issues. 

As for Hannah, well, I didn't care much for her either. Her character entertained me more-so than Clay, but i found her quite whiny and pathetic. Not that i didn't like her at all, i did, but parts of her dialogue were pretty teeny. Looking for an (if not ANY) excuse to place a blame on her teeny suicidal attention-seeking obsession with ending her life. She blamed these 'inter-connected events' on the sole reason that she could no longer carry on with life. I appologise if I am sounding insensitive here, but don't most of us just 'get on with it', man-up and deal with the crap that we all inevitably have to go through every day? But to then go and record her obsession and deliver it to those concerned? What was she hoping to do? destroy them? Make them realise they are horrible people and shock them into being better people? Maybe she waned to make them 'top-themselves' too and then they could all have a crazy teen-suicide club that really is after all, inter-connected! I did feel for Hannah and i thought her dialogue was well thought through, planned and very well delivered. Its just most of it didn't entertain me much.

The story was structures almost from a dual-viewpoint , with the exception being that Hannah delivered her piece prior to the actual setting but was delivered in the present. This was a clever way to deliver the story and for the most part, worked. Despite separating Clay and Hannah's narrative by normal and Italic fonts respectively, this wasn't enough to keep me from confusion. Several times i found myself reading Clays 'odd sentences' between Hannah narrative as Hannah narrative.
The inclusion of the Play Pause and Stop symbols in the book version of the text i believe really help in depicting and separating the narrative and in setting the story. It allows the weight of her ultimate decision to be conveyed to the reader even stronger.  I was very disappointed to find (after i had finished it) that these had been omitted from the Kindle format

So my £5.49, i'm sad to say, was not money well-spent. I am glad i have read it. It is an original narrative and i haven't read a book structured like this before. But i'm sure about saying that i wont be adding this to my collection nor going back to it in the future. On the rear of the paperback book i found out that you can actually listen to Hannah's tapes whilst following the book. Again this was omitted in the Kindle version so unfortunately i cannot comment. But just to let yo know that they are there if any of you people decide to read.

I have had several niggles with my kindle that have come back to the surface after reading 13 Reasons Why on it. I am therefore going to have a Kindle Vs Book review ready for you all shortly.

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