Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Banned Books Week... Highlighting Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Teen suicide

Sometimes a book is banned because the subject matter is uncomfortable. Such is the case in Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher...

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Thirteen Reasons Why is about teen suicide. It's about bullying. It's about how words and actions can hurt. First published in 2007, Thirteen Reasons Why still made the top ten banned list in 2012. Why? Because it contained drugs/alcohol/smoking, it was sexually explicit, there was a suicide, and it was deemed unsuited for age group. I have never read the book, but from researching banned books for this week, I  read a blurb on cnn.com from Jay Asher about censorship that just resonated with me and made me wish that people who try and ban books like this, would understand why it's important to have them available. Here's the blurb:
Having spoken to thousands of teens since my book came out, I even more firmly believe that books dealing with these issues need to be written as emotionally honest as possible. Not only is it appropriate, it's responsible. If people are dealing with it, we need to talk about it. Otherwise, we contribute to the main reason people don't reach out for help
The responses I read on the Thirteen Reasons Why Website, were amazing. Some were reviews from people who were dealing with depression, some who had attempted suicide and even a response from someone who realized they wanted to go into a field that helped teenagers like the protagonist in the story. In any case, if this book helps one person, it is a worthwhile endeavor. I just put this on my reading list.

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