Posts Tagged ‘dark’

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Browsing around on Amazon one day, this book came up as one of the “Recommended for You” picks.  I don’t tend to pay much attention to book summaries because after I received the book in the mail, I realized that it was a Young Adult novel.  But that’s okay – I still think some Young Adult books are entertaining and interesting.  I also took a YA literature class in college to fulfill my lit course requirement and I really liked the class (plus I got an opportunity to read some books that I never got a chance to in high school).

Thirteen Reasons Why” is about a pretty serious subject – teen suicide.  Although it’s a little different than you may think… Hannah Baker has already taken her life.  One day soon after the incident, one of her high school classmates, Clay Jensen, receives a mysterious package on his doorstep.  When he opens it, he’s shocked to find what’s inside.  Inside are seven cassette tapes, each numbered front and back written in blue nail polish.  When Clay pops the first tape into the cassette player in his garage, he can’t believe that he’s hearing Hannah’s voice speaking to him.  Hannah has very strict instructions for the listener of these tapes and they must be followed through with or else.  What are the tapes about?  On each tape, Hannah talks about one of the thirteen people who drove her to end her own life.

As Clay starts hearing about things that his classmates did to ruin Hannah’s life, he’s wondering what he could have possibly done to hurt her.  They had worked together at the movie theater and Clay actually had a crush on her but was afraid to ask her out.  As he switches each tape, he is curious as to which tape is his.  As Hannah speaks, she also refers to a map and certain locations that relate to parts of her stories.  Clay had found this map in his locker several weeks before, when Hannah was still alive, but didn’t understand what it was and just had shoved it into his backpack.  Clay continues to listen, tape by tape, learning secrets about his classmates that only the other twelve people on the tape plus Hannah will ever know.   He also realizes that he may have been the only one who could have saved her.

Even though I mentioned that this was a YA book, I didn’t think it was inappropriate for an adult to read.  I actually liked it (for it being about a very serious and sad subject).  The way it was written, the story would be told from Clay’s perspective but then the transcripts from Hannah’s tapes were also incorporated as Clay was listening to them.  It really also makes you think about how your actions may effect someone else, even when you think it’s no big deal.  Some of the things that happened to Hannah didn’t seem like something to end your life over, but to her, obviously they were.  For someone who has a child that is high school age (not me!), it also may open up your eyes to see what goes on in their lives and maybe they need some support or someone to talk to.

This is Jay Asher‘s first published novel.  The official website for “Thirteen Reasons Why” is pretty cool – it includes an interactive map that Clay follows in the book (Clay’s was a real paper map, not interactive – just to clarify) and videos of each of Hannah’s tapes.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

This book is currently atop the NY Times Best-Seller List under “Paperback Trade Fiction” (whatever that means).  It intrigued me and that’s why I had to download it on my Kindle.

Disclaimer: “A Reliable Wife” is NOT a happy book.  It is dark, depressing, sad, and any other synonym to those words.  If you don’t like those sort of books, then this one is definitely not for you.  This is probably one of the most depressing books I’ve ever read.  Yet as painful as it was to read, I had to finish it.

The story starts in 1907 with Ralph Truitt, a very wealthy man in his 50′s, waiting at the train station for a woman.  This woman came to him from an ad he put in the papers for a “reliable wife” (meaning a simple woman who could live with him and be a companion of sorts).  A younger woman named Catherine had answered his ad and sent a picture and he paid for her to come to Wisconsin and live with him.  When Catherine arrives, she is not the same woman in the picture (it was actually her cousin), but he keeps her anyway.  They “bond” immediately after he is injured on the ride home and she has to care for his wounds.  Little does Ralph know that Catherine isn’t who she says she is and she has other intentions for her new relationship.

I can’t go into the details of the storyline any further, but I’ll say that the story winds a tale of selfishness, passion, debauchery, sex, drugs, grief, and death (not necessarily in that order).  The book didn’t make me cry or anything, but it was just a very heavy read.  It was an interesting story and shows you the darker sides of city life back in the early 20th century.  Okay, I’m ready to read a light-hearted chick lit book now!

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.

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