Books I’ve Read: 13 Reasons Why

I have a habit of adding books to my reading list and only getting around to them when someone decides to turn them into movies and tv shows. This is no exception. I heard about 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher months ago on another WordPress blog (I would link, but I can’t for the life of me remember what blog it was!) and immediately added it to my growing list, then never picked up a copy. Fast forward to the future, and I finally got my hands on the book now that Netflix has made an original series out of it.

I have not watched the series. I wasn’t going to start until I finished the book. But I don’t know if I want to watch it now. I don’t think the series will be able to compete with the power of this book.

Synopsis: High school student Hannah Baker committed suicide. Before she did, she recorded 13 stories on tape and sent them posthumously to 13 people explaining how their words and/or actions contributed to her decision. Clay Jensen is on those tapes, but he has no idea why. And so he spends the night listening to this story to which he only knows the end, following the path that leads to it.

This story is dark. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. If you’ve ever been bullied, heard rumors, or really even gone to high school, this story might sound familiar. And that’s why it’s so powerful. Everything in it is real, plausible, believable, because these things have happened to us, or to someone we know, or we’ve read a news story or heard someone speak on the issues in this book. And while this story is set in high school, it could have happened in college, or at work, or across several settings. It’s relatable. And it hurts.

I will provide a trigger warning. If you have been bullied, or sexually assaulted or harassed, or are suicidal or know someone who is or has killed themselves, this book might not be for you. But it could be a good tool for reaching out to people, for helping them understand your struggle or the struggle of others, and just how impactful words and actions can be, long after the fleeting moments in which they occur.

Would I recommend this book? I cried and wanted to stop reading because it broke my heart, but I had to find out what was on those tapes. So yes, I think you should read it.


A New Best-Seller

The weather in Northeast Ohio is finally warming up and calming down, which is great with June just around the corner. And with June comes summer, which means school will be out. As always, I’m looking forward to it. But there’s something special about vacation this year.

The start of summer also serves as the end of a chapter in my life. Senior year will officially be over, and I will be leaving the familiar halls of Bedford High School as a student for the last time. There will be plenty of tears as I say goodbye to beloved teachers, and plenty of hugs as friends begin to follow their own paths. I’ll certainly be sad to leave the people and places that wrote down so many memories in my yearbook.

However, there will be some relief on my part. I’ve been aching to break out of those confining walls, where everyone has been rereading the same page for the past four years. Finally, after the last exam and the long walk across the stage of Severance Hall to receive my diploma, I will be able to turn that page.

Ahead of me lies the adventure of college, and beyond that, the vast expanse of the real world. The lines I’ve been stuck between will be erased, and I’ll be exposed to the glories and the terrors of a blank sheet of paper. I have no idea what’s going to come out of the pen, no outline that will show me what’s on the next page, and nothing but desire to keep me pushing forward. I have no clue how I’m going to pay for college, or if I really know what I want to do with my life. But I’m ready to face the questions and the challenges. I think I’ve always been ready.

My life has been spent preparing for this chapter in my story, establishing the characters and the plot. Perhaps my time at Baldwin-Wallace will be the climax, the turning point, and everything after that- a career, a family, retirement- well, perhaps that could be my resolution. But what if instead of a single novel, my life turns into a series? Each segment of life, from high school through to retirement, it’s own book, with individual plot lines and diverse characters, conflicts, and climaxes? Hopefully, my story has more words than can be contained in a single cover.

And so it is with this frame of mind, the determination to create a saga, that I head towards graduation. I will walk out of Severance Hall and into an empty notebook, ready to be filled with the stories of my life.