Warning: This book discusses depression and suicide.
I read this book on a flight between London and Malta, after having bought it the day before at Waterstones. I’ve since lent it to anyone who will listen to me, because holy shit this book is amazing.
The book discusses the theme of teenage suicide, through the point of view of someone whose classmate and first love has killed herself. Clay receives a shoe box with seven cassette tapes inside, and each side contains a part of a story, explaining why Hannah Baker had killed herself in the first place.
Without going into too much detail, the book goes into so many different issues: friendship, underage drinking, drunk driving, rape culture, first love, adults being disappointing, depression, suicide, mental issues being viewed as invalid, popularity, sex, voyeurism…
It has it all.
Each side of each tape reveals someone who did something, however small, that led to Hannah killing herself. Each side of the story reveals how small inconsequential actions leads to larger and larger ones, and eventually, it all amounts into a life that’s difficult to live. Hannah kills herself after being let down, time after time after time, and by the end of it, it almost feels like it isn’t just Clay who’s lost a friend. It’s you too.
The story works as a great way to bring up the concept of teen suicide to an audience who may have never met someone suicidal. It puts things into perspective, and helps you realize just how bad it can be for someone, even if they don’t show it. And maybe, just maybe, it can reach someone who knows someone who’s killed themselves, someone who has to deal with an empty space in their life, and helps there. Or maybe someone who’s bullied in the past before, someone who’s said things that have hurt people before. Maybe through this book, they’ll realize that what they do and what they say could really have an impact.
That’s the best things about books – you never know who they’ll reach.
Final rating: 5/5. Please read this book, no matter who you are or what you’ve experienced or who you’ve lost.
Quotes I Liked: