Thursday, September 16, 2010

Action/Reaction: Th1rteen R3asons Why

This was my chosen beach read for my latest trip home to LU. It's the premiere novel centered on teenage angst and anxiety by newbie novelist Jay Asher. Must say, it ain't bad and I'm glad I was on semi-strange, unbalanced situation when I first opened its pages. Made me appreciate the drama more.
It is what it is. A spade is a spade, and this book is teenage chicklit. The issues covered, the thirteen reasons why young Hannah Baker decided to take her own life, but not without making 13 other people suffer, are seemingly... for lack of a better term... young. No, they're not immature, or miniscule, or unimportant. No one dare call peer pressure any of that. But it is young, and most of us grow out of it.

What is amazing, however, is how this book just oozes action/reaction. Everything you do, no matter how mundane it seems to yourself, affects someone. So much so, that the effects could be suicide! (Fat chance, you say... but you never really know, do you?)

Hannah Baker decided to take that fat chance away, by recording a bunch of cassette tapes for 13 different people whose mere bit of involvement in her life rattled her so much its caused her deranged heart the suffering of an old soul; sending them over to the 13; overdosing and dying, and all to likely watch them squirm from heaven, as they listen to literally her voice from beyond the grave.

She sewed them all together in her life, illustrating how one thing with someone led to another thing with someone else in an entirely different setting, and angrily points out the wrong from right in every situation. She could've been saved, no one just took the time to do it.

Sure, someone could've reached out to save her. But then again, she could just as easily have saved herself; made the tapes, realized how shallow she was being and moved on. But her reaction to her own act of recording the tapes only cemented her resolve to end it all.

I know it's fictional. Yeah, yeah, it's make believe and all so "high school" but action/reaction doesn't start and end in the teenage years. I guess what I'm saying is... everything leads to something, whether you acknowledge it or not. No, don't go thru life as if you're on eggshells all the time, but rather with the awareness of those around you.

Jay Asher's first novel is beautiful. It's crazy, out of the box, and surprisingly real. Not at all the teeny bopper read I was expecting after my colleague's brief review when she lent me her copy. Already told you point blank, it is what it is. But then, if you read with your own open interpretations, it could mean more to you as it did to me.

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