Monday, March 18, 2013
BOOK: Th1rteen R3asons Why
Similar Issues of Bullying - "...I don't know anything about bullying in Huntington Beach specifically, but I would assume it's very similar to other places. As the author of a book like this, I travel around the country speaking. ... One of the things I found is that no matter where in the country, poor communities, rich communities, everybody deals with very similar issues of bullying. It's pretty widespread...There's a lot she could have done differently. I didn't want it to be a heavy-handed, preachy book where I tell people, "This is how you should feel about these issues." It was very important to me, as I was writing it, to not let Hannah off the hook and to show the ways she could have done more to help herself, places she could have turned and things she was doing to make things even worse for herself in some cases. I thought it would have been irresponsible to write a book where she did everything she could have done. I hear from readers all the time saying that the book convinced them to reach out and get help..." - Asher Klein, Orange County Register, March 13, 2013 (READ MORE)
Disembodied Voice - "...“Thirteen Reasons Why” was partly inspired by a relative of Mr. Asher’s who had tried to commit suicide. The idea of using tape recordings, he said, came from a visit to a casino in Las Vegas, where Mr. Asher used a recorded audio guide on a tour of an exhibition about King Tutankhamen of Egypt. Something about listening to a disembodied voice made Mr. Asher, now 33, think, “This would be a really cool format for a book that I had never seen.” At the time Mr. Asher, who had dropped out of college to pursue a writing career, was trying to sell comedic picture and chapter books for younger children. Before he sold “Thirteen Reasons” to Razorbill, he said, he submitted a total of 11 manuscripts to publishers. All were rejected. He was working as an assistant children’s librarian and as a bookseller at a local store in Sheridan, Wyo., six years ago when he started reading a lot of young adult fiction. One day, he said, the idea for “Thirteen Reasons” just hit him, and he wrote what eventually became the first 10 pages that night. The eerie, sardonic voice of Hannah, the suicide victim, came easily. The character of Clay Jensen, the boy whose reactions to the tapes provide another thread through the novel, was based on Mr. Asher’s own high school memories...Mr. Asher was planning to write a lighthearted high school romance as his follow-up to “Thirteen Reasons,” but the intense feedback from readers, he said, caused him to abandon that manuscript halfway through. “I didn’t want them to be let down by my next book,” he said. Now he is working on a novel that “will go into the complications of high school relationships..." - Motoko Rich, The New York Times, March 9, 2009 (READ MORE)
Great Idea - "...My real problem with this book was Clay. On the tape that Hannah has dedicated to him she explicitly says, 'You don't deserve to be on these tapes.' Clay is a nerd. He studies on weekends and doesn't go to parties he's excited about being valedictorian. He's had a crush on Hannah and never the balls to tell her so. Not only is he boring and one-dimensional but I never saw a single reason as to why he would be interested in a girl like Hannah considering the people she associated with; friends or not. Of all the people on the tapes, Clay is without doubt the weakest choice for the story's living narrator. He's likable and he's nice. He's also kinda boring. While many of the other people on the tapes were manipulative bitches or outright sexually aggressive creeps and while readers might not have liked those choices as I'm sure most did Clay, seeing things and hearing Hannah's voice play through anyone else mentioned on the tapes' head may have made for a much more compelling (perhaps even more disturbing) read. Thirteen Reasons Why is a great idea, a really unique presentation and story mechanic; added to which everything works. But considering the lowest points that led up to Hannah taking her life and how universally awful they were I can think of at least "Nine Reasons" she never would have dwelt on long enough to record on tape in the first place. A fine writer and certainly one to watch. All in all a good book and one that even manages to feel original..." - Chad Hull, blogger, Fictio is so Overrated, Feb 9 2013 (READ MORE)
Multiple-person Narrative - "...Thirteen Reasons Why is written for readers to experience Hannah's story through a teen named Clay who is discovering Hannah's thirteen reasons why she decided to kill herself. Hannah decides to share her story through audiotapes with the people that she feels need to know the negative impact they had on her life while she was still alive. Through Hanna's audiotapes Clay learns much more about Hannah he had ever known while she was alive. Though he wishes he could go back in time to help her through all of this, all he can do now is send the tapes to the next person on the list. One of the most important reasons a teacher should consider this book over others that cover similar topics, is its multiple-person narrative. One of the narrators is Hanna, through her cassette tapes, and Clay, through his inner dialogue. Because of this all students have a character they can understand the story through, and connect with. The book also features topics that are hugely important to teens: bullying, depression, date rape, isolation, and suicide. Between the unique format, intriguing issues, multiple antagonists, dual narrators, and the idea that everything affects everything this book is sure to hook high school students..." - Young Adult Literature (READ MORE)
Jay Asher is an American writer of contemporary novels for teens. He has one major publication in the genre of young adult literature...Jay Asher was born in Arcadia, California on September 30, 1975. He grew up in a family that encouraged all of his interests, from playing the guitar to his writing. He attended College right after graduating from San Luis Obispo High School. It was here where he wrote his first two children’s books for a class called Children’s Literature Appreciation. After high school, he decided he wanted to become an elementary school teacher. He then transferred to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo where he left his senior year in order to pursue his career as a serious writer. He is married. Throughout his life he worked in various establishments, including as a salesman in a shoe store and in libraries and bookstores. Many of his work experiences had an impact on some aspect of his writing. He has published two books to date, Thirteen Reasons Why, a 2007 New York Times best-selling young-adult fiction novel, and The Future of Us, co written by Carolyn Mackler. He has written several picture books and middle school humor novels. Thirteen Reasons Why has won several awards and has received five stars from Teen Book Review. It also has received high praise from fellow authors such as Ellen Hopkins, Sherman Alexie, and Chris Crutcher, and Gordon Korman. Asher is a fan of the TV series My So-Called Life. He cites it as a major influence on his work. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)
Bullying is an abusive treatment, the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when habitual and involving an imbalance of power. It may involve verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed persistently towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. The "imbalance of power" may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "targeted individual" (Wikipedia).