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Dear Kelsey,

Your thoughts on Thirteen Reasons Why are exactly what I wish I could have written. I’ve been in a sort of numb shock, just letting everything settle, and still haven’t been able to process beyond “wow.” So I’m going to try to come at things sideways.

For Banned Books Week, I read a kind of holy triumvirate of Banned/Young Adult fiction. S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why. I wanted to add The Absolutely True Diary…, but every copy was already checked out. (More on that in a later post.)

In your review, you mentioned that Asher’s novel walks a delicate line, and I think that same thing holds true for all of these novels. Because while each story was emotionally devastating, I never actually cried. That might not seem so significant, but I cry so easily when I read. I love to cry. It’s the perfect release.

And I truly think that may be the point. My heart was breaking, but there was never quite a single moment that brought me to tears. The heartbreak was constant, right on the edge of bearable, and even if I couldn’t understand one specific kind of pain, I viscerally understood its endurance. And the lack of any emotional release made every one of these books linger. I couldn’t simply cry for Hannah and move on. I know Ponyboy and Melinda are still in pain after the story ends, and can’t forget it, despite the hope at the end, because I’m still feeling it too.

It’s good we’ve had a couple of days before starting the next book. I needed some time to process. And I mean that in the best way possible. 

Love,

Maggie

P.S. At work, we’ve been trying to include “Also of Interest” titles in most of our communications with customers. It’s definitely been effective, at least on one of the employees, because I can’t stop thinking about other books that also fit this description. John Green’s Looking for Alaska, Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides, Lurlene McDaniel’s One Last Wish series, Linda Hogan’s People of the Whale, Mark Haddon’s Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

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