Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Not-So-Distant Past Revisited

I just finished reading Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. In one sitting, about 4.5 hours worth. Even though this book is classified as a teen novel and I'm clearly not a teen, the book dives deep into several issues I have experienced and can relate to, both in my teen years and as an adult.

The book is centered around a suicide and the 13 people and circumstances that caused the suicide. No doubt, the intensities of the storyline kept me reading, but there was something more.

Suicide. I wanted a different perspective, the perspective from outsiders looking in to a suicide rather than how the suicide victim perceived outside persons. How was the suicide victim perceived when she was alive? By friends? By strangers? Can the actions and inactions of others truly drive someone to end their life?

Yes. I've hit rock bottom a few times and I've been happier than ever before, and still I answer "yes". "Yes" is why this book initially caught my attention. "Yes" is why I started reading and didn't stop until this book was completed. "Yes" is why I am writing to you now.

This book provided insight that allowed me to look at suicide in a different way, in fact, in many different ways. I saw the act and all of the feelings associated with it through the eyes of everyone, friend, foe or indifferent, connected to the person who commits this act. I was surprised by the emotions this book stirred up in me - sadness, because the hopelessness and loneliness felt by the victim is felt by me deep in my soul; anger, because kids can be so cruel and I suffered through high school as well; fear, because those feelings can enter one's mind, the mind of a hurting person, at any second and linger and cause even more fear and shame and confusion.

Yes, this book put me back in high school, back in all of my pain, so much of which was caused because I never really learned how to value myself as a simple, unique human being. From high school everything just snowballed, with wound after bloody wound. I ache after reading this book. And after aching, I hope comes healing.

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