“13” calls attention to suicide awareness in teens

Danielle Nelson, Online Editor

“13 Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher, follows Clay Jensen, a high school student who mysteriously receives tapes in the mail from a female student who committed suicide a few weeks prior.

   Hannah’s tapes state that there are 13 reasons contributing to her death and each reason is a person who has impacted her since she moved to the school. As the tapes begin, the rules state that the tapes must be passed from person to person in secret or they would be released publically which would ruin the lives of many people on the tapes.

   Asher uses the tapes to emphasize the effects people can have without realizing it. While many of the people who receive the tapes have participated in heinous acts relating to Hannah’s life, some were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some just weren’t paying attention enough to know she needed their help to save her life.

   As Hannah descends into the final hours before she takes her own life, her desperation permeates the tapes as she is internally pleading for someone to stop her. As the tapes progress, it becomes clear that Hannah has seen a great amount of trauma occur in her life.

   The final moments in which Hannah chooses to end her life while she is recording the tapes is powerful. Powerful and frightening. It creates an essence of fear as the reader understands why she is doing what she is; it seems like there is no other option, and as though there is truly no one who cares.

   Asher’s choice in topic is a challenging one to write about, and a challenging one to read in current times. Depression and other emotional disorders transcend the generational divide and he does a wonderful job of showcasing how a life can spiral out of control as a series of seemingly small events snowballs into something much larger.