Monday, June 21, 2010


Clay Jensen gets mail. Mail in the form of a series of audiotapes recorded by the enigmatic Hannah Baker. Hannah is Clay's long-time crush and fellow classmate, who commited suicide two weeks earlier. Clay spends one long sleepless night listening to the tapes, and what he hears changes his life forever.

I hope you're ready, because I'm about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically; why my life ended. And if you're listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons why.

Hannah's witty and sarcastic voice is the life and soul of the book, and at times the character of Clay Jensen can seem wooden and under developed in comparison. Nevertheless, this is an easy read with emotional impact which tackles issues such as date rape and suicide in a frank and intelligent way.

Occasionally the switching between Clay and Hannah's dialogues was frustrating, mainly because Clay's voice sometimes lacked authenticity. Their story was genuinely touching however, without being overly sentimental. The premise was concise and convincing, and while the ending felt like it had perhaps stopped too suddenly, for me this just added to the tragic nature of Hannah's story.

One of the novel's best qualities is its ability to open up debate around suicide, as well as causing the reader to question how each of our actions can affect those around us. Definitely one which stayed with me long after I put it down. Worth a read.


Claire Dawn said...

One of my fave books ever!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I adored this book and raved when I reviewed it. I had to check out your review as well.

If I can get my hands on the audio version I would love to listen to it.

sideline jelly said...

There's some audio clips on a blog set up by the author:

I believe they're read by Olivia Thirlby from Juno. She does a pretty good job I think, although they're a little more theatrical than I would have imagined. Hannah's sense of humour comes out well in them though, and juding by the comments on you tube-as a publicity strategy it's done well.