24 July 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why // A Problematic Read Which, For Me, Was About Actions Having Consequences

Thirteen Reasons Why
Published: 16th September 2009
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
My Rating:
You can't stop the future.

You can't rewind the past.

The only way to learn the secret is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home to find a strange package with his name on it. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and first love – who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

Hannah's voice explains there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why.

All through the night, Clay keeps listening – and what he discovers changes his life... forever.
I had been wanting to read this book for a long while because of the Netflix series (which I'll be watching... maybe) but also because I'd heard plenty about the book. I actually enjoyed it and I wasn't sure I would after all the problems I’d seen people raise with the show (thus, it logically applied to the book as well).

I am reviewing this book purely based on the enjoyment I had of it. I am aware that this book is triggering (it’s about suicide) and I know many felt it was problematic both as it romanticised suicide but also because of the message it sent out about suicide. I know more about these issues raised about the show, I remember this article on Buzzfeed and then mentions of glamorising suicide and the show even depicts graphic suicide. Now all of these articles relate to the show and the show is the reason I decided to read but a lot of these problems can be applied to the book. I want to put that all out there before you read my review because I get it. This book is flawed and doesn’t do anywhere near enough to help those with suicidal thoughts but I felt it did highlight taking more care with your actions.

My Review:

The reason I read Thirteen Reasons Why so quickly and got into a story I would normally avoid is simple: I liked the characters. I instantly liked Hannah and cared about her. I genuinely wanted better for her because she got dealt a shit hand. And I liked Clay although I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and to find the flaw in his apparent nice guy act but he was genuinely this nice guy who wasn't perfect but wasn't malicious with his niceties either. He cared about others and although he didn’t always make the right choice (who does?) he cared about others and tried to help them.

I respected the book for highlighting suicide and the warning signs to look for. In the book, it does seem like Hannah is trying to pinpoint individuals to blame for her suicide which is never really how suicide works. There isn’t a select group of people to blame, there are a multitude of issues which have built up until someone thinks that suicide is their only option. I didn’t like that blame was being placed, that made me a little uncomfortable, but then I did like that Hannah stated that there was a multitude of reasons she made the choice she did and that even her tapes and the selection of 13 people wasn’t truly an accurate record, but instead a simplified list of reasons. I felt this was more about explaining that suicide didn't occur for a single reason and there is no easy fix to help those contemplating suicide but there are signs to look for.

I also liked that a lot of people on Hannah's list are people who many would like and get along with, they are not necessarily bad people. They weren’t all maliciously bullying her and out to get her but instead they were teens making dumb choices (as anyone does at that age) and whose actions which are a joke or harmless to them can be perceived as an attack by another. Do I think their actions should be blamed for one person’s suicide? No, but I did like how it highlighted that actions have consequences and so to think first.

I am conflicted about this book even now, after reading about the issues of the book and thinking on my own thoughts whilst reading and I am conflicted. I enjoyed it. It was a book which easily hooked me in and I sped through it. I wanted to know Hannah’s reasons and wanted to see what would happen to Clay. I wanted to know how listening to the tapes would affect him and learn the story of Hannah’s suicide. Even whilst reading I knew there would be a whole heap of issues with this book. I know I felt uncomfortable with the blame being placed on others and I certainly felt bad for Clay who was included but never could be blamed. I hated the pointing of fingers, that was the worst part. Yes, there were people who acted terribly to a person and certainly didn’t help make lives better but it’s very simplistic to think that certain people’s actions can be blamed. I enjoyed reading, I’m glad I did read it so I can now understand the conversation and I do still think I will watch the show but from reading the book and then reading about the issues many had with it I certainly feel more well informed.

For me, I take the message that actions have consequences. That was the key theme I got from reading but I realise that there is more to this story. It is a difficult book to review because the more I inform myself on what the issues were the more I felt I couldn’t endorse the book. I enjoyed it, I won’t say otherwise, but I can see issues with glamorising suicide and it definitely doesn’t do enough to explain why Hannah committed suicide as her actions seem rational from her tapes but there’s not enough mention of mental health, there are mentions of contacts at the end for suicide prevention but the book should have done more in it’s pages to address it too.

This book is very much like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. have you read it and which side of the fence do you sit on? And have you seen the show? Should I give it a shot or is it not worth it?

23 July 2017

Sunday Summary // 23.07.2017

Sunday Summary
This week has all centred around a cold for me. I woke up with the sniffles last Saturday, nothing to fuss about, but then when I got up Sunday my throat was sore, my nose was running and I generally felt miserable and it only got worse as my one ear was fuzzy and I stopped being able to breath through my nose no matter how much I blew it and I definitely held a passing resemblance to Rudolph with how much nose blowing I was doing. It was not fun. Then came the dreaded cough! I would fall into coughing fits that made people think I was dying but it was just a tickle in my throat I couldn’t shift. My manager even told me to pack up early one day (which just fuelled my justification in acting like I was on the brink of death, man flu ain’t got nothing on me and my drama queen levels) so yeah. My cold really has been the focus of my week. I forgot how not good crying with a cold was, though. I watched Murdered For Being Different on iPlayer and it was fantastic and really highlights that prejudice is a thing and it sucks, but I watched that and ended up crying (because that was inevitable really) and it was just snot everywhere, which I know you all wanted to know.

On a more positive note I saw Wonder Woman last Saturday and didn’t fall asleep in the cinema. I liked a whole heap about that film, I mean there was a strong ‘I am woman hear me roar’ feelings whilst watching and Gal Gadot was an excellent Wonder Woman. I think me and my friend might have been a little sleep tired because we laughed far more than was probably necessary but it was a good film. Now… don’t hate me… but I did think it was a little cheesy. Like, I get it’s totally awesome and I will not disparage a film which is all about a female superhero but I felt like it might have been a bit overhyped so I was expecting so much and so it was never going to reach the staggering heights I expected. I would watch again but yeah, it was cheesy and my friend agreed.

Apart from dying from a cold it’s been a quiet week. I’ve got some plans over the next few weeks to actually go out and be social! I’m most excited about going to a Greek restaurant near to me with some folks from work. I am such a fussy eater so trying somewhere different like that is always a bit risky but the menu looks good so I’m really excited for that.

Otherwise, it’s been all about my holiday the past week. I bought a few clothes to take with me and now I’m getting all excited I’ve found myself a sunny yellow suitcase I’ll be buying for my trip (the extra large suitcase I took for my fortnight long holiday a few years back felt a little excessive) so that’s got me all excited. I just can’t wait! I am very excited about this holiday and it’ll only get worse as we get closer to September but I can handle that.

What I’ve Been Reading

Tone DeafPast PerfectThe Sea King
My slump has lessened. I’ve read three books this week and I am very happy about that. Maybe I am taking a summer reading break? I enjoyed Tone Deaf, I’m glad I managed to get hold of a cheap copy as it was a great read, even if the romance did have me rolling my eyes a little, it was enjoyable and I loved the deaf representation. Then I read Past Perfect as I was on a contemporary YA roll and it was such a good book. Glad I snapped up a copy when I had a chance and it gave me strong history feels. Then there was The Sea King and hot damn was that a good sequel. I loved how it continues an excellent story and it was pretty damn enjoyable to read. I did have some grumbles, though. I have a full review to write soon but yeah… that won’t e for a while yet. I loved it a whole heap and have a whole lot of flailing to do about this read but there were a couple of things I had reservations about and I will talk about those in my review so yeah. A good reading week overall.

New To Me

Island of ExilesBy Her Touch
I’ve been pretty tame with new book purchases. Just two (although I am totally eyeing up a few more as my slump ends I feel more justified in acquiring new books). I totally blame Danya for the purchase of Island of Exiles because she raved about it and then it went down in price for Kindle and so then I bought it. Fingers crossed it’s as good as I think it will be. And then By Her Touch was a book I probably should have waited to buy until I’d read the first book but it was 49p and what girl can say no to buying a 49p ebook?
Here We Are Now
I also got a single book for review this week. it turned up in the post and I was so excited because it’s so pretty! Look at that cover and tell me you don’t find it so pretty. I cannot wait to start reading!

And that is my week. I have stopped my sniffling and have begun to get my reading mojo back and so it’s been a pretty awesome week all things considered. How has your week been? Any good books or bookish things you want to talk about?

20 July 2017

My Thoughts // Do You Ever Look Back At Old Posts?

My Thoughts_zpsv3m9csox.png
I was intending to do a completely different post for my discussion. I have a whole heap of discussions I want to do, in fact. And a book tag I really want to do even though I’ve not been tagged in it, but then I decided to give my blog a makeover and wanted to ask you all a question.

Do you ever look back at old posts?

I never look at old posts beyond a few weeks because I’ve moved onto new things and once a post a is a few years old I get nervous to look at what I said because I am continually growing and changing as a blogger and old blog me isn’t necessarily the same as new blog me, you know?
I also don’t look at old posts because I get nervous about what my writing will be like. I am terrible for not spellchecking or reading over posts before they go live. I’ve almost posted something with a half written sentence in it before. I am a lazy blogger who will one day post something where I've typed ‘blah blah blah’ or something stupid because I know I want to say something there which I can’t be bothered to type. So, my old posts are left to gather dust and I do nothing to promote them. But then, I had to start checking posts for dead images because of photobucket and try and make sure all my posts had the right header images going on with the makeover (which continues because I’ve still not redone my Top Ten Tuesday header or Author Addiction one). But, whilst I was checking through posts I started reading some of them, something I never do.
giphy (3)
My reviews will always make me cringe, I will not ever get over that, but I do find my discussion posts interesting. And my Top Ten Tuesday posts, especially those featuring a list of books I’m excited to read, are really interesting because I can see if I read them or still want to read them. It’s actually quite fun. I mean, this is my Spring 2014 TBR post and I’ve read most of this or still want to read them and that is awesome!
giphy (1)
And reading some of my old discussion posts I’m either nodding along thinking ‘I’m a genius having these totally amazing thoughts’ or shaking my head' thinking ‘WTF was I on when I wrote this, why did no one stop me?’. Thankfully, it was more of the first than the second, but these things happen. I even like some of my past discussions and feel like they are very relevant and I question how I thought of them when I was I just starting out. This is my first discussion post ‘How are you expected to stand out from the crowd?’ and I still have these thoughts! I’d been blogging a month and who knew I’d be so on point? And then I saw this post I wrote where I spoke about blogging slumps whilst relating a story of where I had to persevere and it worked out! Why don’t I read old posts more often?

Do you read old posts of yours? I know some bloggers feature old posts on their social media, do you do that?