I just finished reading 13 reasons why from Jay Asher.
If you live in Canada or in the States, you most probably heard about either the book, or the famous series that was made out of it. I have no idea how well-known the story is outside North America, but I think it should spread worldwide.
If you haven’t heard about it, it is the story of Clay who receives a shoebox filled with cassettes sent by a classmate who committed suicide just a couple of weeks before. Through the seven tapes, Hannah talks to and explains her links and relationships with 13 people. She walks the listener through the events that led her to finally taking her own life.
To say that this book shook me would be an understatement.
I knew it was controversial. The tv series provoked a lot of reactions when it came out. 13 reasons why is a young adult novel, and I remember a lot of people saying it probably wasn’t a great idea to expose teenagers and young adults to this story. Many thought it was too triggering.
And triggering it is, indeed.
I think we all know someone who committed suicide, or thought about suicide. Some of us wore both hats. And even if you haven’t been affected by the subject, there is so much to be learnt in this fiction.
Suicide is probably one of the greatest taboos of our time. People just don’t want to hear about it.
The novel explains how things that may seem harmless by themselves can add up to destroy one’s will to live. How overlooking little signs one after the other can be fatal in the end.
I won’t tell you you have to read the book, or watch the series. I recognize it could hurt some people’s sensibility. The story is raw. But I think the lessons I read through it are worth sharing.
We should all be more carefull about our way to treat others. Because we don’t know everything going on in the lives of the people sharing our own. What can seem like just a bad joke or a slightly misplaced gesture can always be the drop of water that will make the glass spill.
Acting kindly doesn’t cost a cent. A pat on the back for no reason, in whatever form it might take, can make the difference. You never know when the friend, family member or coworker in front of you is having a bad day and isn’t telling you so. You’ll probably never get the aknowledgement that you made a difference, but if you put efforts in being nice with others, odds are great that someday you’ll offer this one smile, or kind comment that will change someone’s future.
And last but not least, we should never overlook signs that a person might be silently spiralling down. Taking for granted that others will step up and make the move can lead to despair going totally unnoticed. It is always better to offer comfort to someone who doesn’t really need it, than let someone sink alone.
There are a lot of Hannahs out there. Too many of them.
I think we should all keep that in mind.