For millions of young people around the world, suicide is nothing more than a concept that seems to abstract to imagine, and yet it has proven to take the lives of thousands of young adults across the globe. Bullying is shown to be the number one contributor to why teenagers commit suicide and is amongst the many themes Jay Asher reveals to the audience in his book ‘13 Reasons Why’.
The story begins with Clay Jensen, a shy, teenage boy in high school who had a crush on Hannah Baker, the subject of the book. She commits suicide and upon receiving the package, Clay and the readers delve deeper into what really is going on inside the lives of young adults suffering from bullying, sexual abuse/humiliation, ridicule and so many others that force them into a deep depression and thoughts, which quickly turn into acts of suicide.
Hannah begins the first tape with Justin Foley, who we learn spread rumours around the school that Hannah was a slut when he flashed a picture from under her skirt while they were on a date. On the second tape, the audience learns of Alex Standall, who reinforced the false rumours spreading around the school by starting the ‘hot or not’ list. As the tapes continue pilling on with reasons, but more importantly people, that were the cause for Hannah’s suicide “I’m starting to understand. I’m starting to see what Hannah means.
And that opens up a black hole in the pit of my stomach” (Clay, p. 52), the readers obtain a deeper and more in-depth look into what some teenagers are suffering with on a day to day basis and is Jay Asher’s attempt at raising awareness around an issue that is plaquing thousands every day.