Excerpts from the book “Th1rteen R3asons Why” by Jay Asher
From Thirteen Reasons Why
Hello, boys and girls. Hannah Baker here. Live and in stereo…. No return engagements. No encore. And this time, absolutely no requests… I hope you are 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…
Reason 1: Justin Foley
Every night for a week I woke up in the exact same about-to-be kissed spot. But now, Justin, I would finally be meeting you…. Okay, who out there wants to know my very first thought during my very first kiss? Here it is: Somebody’s been eating chilidogs. I’m sorry. It wasn’t that bad, but it was the first thing I thought…
I was so anxious about what kind of kiss it would be – because my friends back home described so many types… And that’s it. Wait. Stop. Don’t rewind. There’s no need to go back because you didn’t miss a thing. Let me repeat myself. That… is … all… that… happened. Why, did you hear something else? …. Oh. So sorry. You wanted something sexier, didn’t you? … Well, what did you want to hear? Because I’ve heard so many stories that I don’t know which one is the most popular. But I do know which is the least popular. The truth…
So thank you, Justin. Sincerely. My very first kiss was wonderful… But then you started bragging. A week went by and I heard nothing. But eventually… the rumours reached me. And everyone knows you can’t disprove a rumour…
Reason 2: Alex Standall
I remember sitting in second period the morning your list came out. Ms. Strumm obviously had an amazing weekend because she did absolutely no prep work whatsoever. She had us watch one of her famously dull documentaries…To me, the narrator’s voice was nothing more than background noise. Well, the narrator’s voice… and the whispers.
When I looked up, the whispers stopped. Any eyes looking at me turned away. But I saw that paper getting passed around. A single sheet making its way up and down the aisles. Eventually, it made its way to the desk behind me…
I tilted my head so I could read the upside-down title of the paper: FRESHMAN CLASS – WHO’S HOT/WHO’S NOT…
Everyone knows Worst Ass in the Freshman Class was a lie… But I’m sure no one cared why Jessica ended up on that side of your list, Alex… Well, no one except you… and me… and Jessica makes three…
You needed a name to put down opposite Jessica’s. And since everyone at school already had a perverted image of me after Justin’s little number, I was the perfect choice, wasn’t I? And the snowball keeps a-rolling. Thanks, Justin….
The day your list came out wasn’t too traumatic. I survived. I knew it was a joke… But what happens when someone says you have the best ass in the freshman class? Let me tell you, Alex, because you’ll never know. It gives people – some people – the go-ahead to treat you like you’re nothing but that specific body part…
Reason 3: Jessica Davis
From Thirteen Reasons Why
I still can’t believe that I lost my best friend. I’m so disappointed that she thinks these rumors are true !
Just because of this stupid boy … Alex. It all began with a meeting at Monet’s Garden where Jessica and I first saw him. This idiot wrote a HOT – and NOT-List. He put me on the HOT – and Jessica on the NOT-side, just to make her jealous. How can a person be so mean ? Well, but everybody knows that Jessica is so much prettier than I ! And wow … I was shocked when I heard that somebody spread rumours about Alex and me. The whole school thinks that we made out, Jessica too ! Like I said, these are just rumours. They are N.O.T true. But Jessica got so angry. Imagine, she hit and scratched me in my face, so I will have an ugly scar ! And I thought she was a good friend. But I thought wrong …
Reason 4: Tyler Down
From Thirteen Reasons
I feel so sorry for you, Tyler. I do. Everyone else on these tapes, so far, must feel a little relieved. They came off as liars or jerks or insecure people lashing out at others. But your story, Tyler… it’s kind of creepy… I’m trying to understand the excitement of staring through someone’s bedroom window. Watching someone who doesn’t know they’re being watched. Trying to catch them in the act of… What were you trying to catch me in the act of, Tyler? And were you disappointed? Or pleasantly surprised?…
Why didn’t you leave me alone, Tyler? My house. My bedroom. They were supposed to be safe for me. Safe from everything outside. But you were the one who took that away….
So how important is your security, Tyler? What about your privacy? May be it’s not as important to you as it was for me, but that’s not for you to decide.
Reason 5: Courtney Crimsen
From 13 Reasons Why
Courtney Crimsen. What a pretty name. And yes, a very pretty girl, as well. Pretty hair. Pretty smile. Perfect skin…. You’re definitely one of the most popular girls in school. And you…are…just…so…sweet. Right? Wrong…
Thanks for inventing and spreading a story about sex toys in my dresser…. And the snowball keeps a-rolling.
Reason 6: Marcus Cooley
From Thirteen Reasons Why
When Marcus came into Rosie’s, he was not alone. No, Marcus came into Rosie’s with a plan. Part of that plan was to move us away from the counter to a booth near the back. Near the pinball machines. With me on the inside. Me, sandwiched between him… and a wall…
And that’s when his hand touched my knee. That’s when I knew…. I stopped laughing….
“Stop it,” I said. And I know you heard me…
“Don’t worry,” you said, And may be you knew your time was short because your hand immediately slid up from my thigh. All the way up. So I rammed both of my hands into your side, throwing you to the floor…
Anyway, you left. You didn’t storm out. Just called me a tease, loud enough for everyone to hear, and walked out…
The next day, Marcus, I decided something. I decided to find out how people at school might react if one of the students never came back…
Reason 7: Zach Dempsey
From Th1rteen R3asons Why
Today was an awful day! I always need to cry when I think of this situation, this most childish of ways to get back at me.
Zach, that stupid guy of my school, stole my notes of encouragement. I still can’t believe it, but it’s true. He took away my last hope and because I’m going through that hard time I really need these little notes. They were at least a small light in my world of darkness.
Now I feel lonelier than ever even because of this discussion in class. Oh, I haven’t told you that yet, have I?
Well, because I was very desperate and hopeless (I’m still desperate) I wrote a small anonymous message to Mrs. Bradley, where I mentioned that I’m thinking of committing suicide.
And today, when she opened the discussion my classmates said, that whoever wrote that just wants attention. I was very offended and I couldn’t understand why they didn’t care. But now… maybe they are right. Maybe I just want people to know I’m thinking of killing myself so they would tell me to stop. I already hear a voice inside my head which tells me to stop, but I can’t.
However, I’m still not sure whether Zach stole my notes because he thought I turned him down at Rosie’s. But he must have understood something wrong, right? I just ignored him and said nothing. I didn’t give him a reason for doing something that bad.
It’s horrible to see how I withdraw into myself. I really don’t want to put the blame on someone. But if they don’t stop killing myself I can’t guarantee anything…
Reason 8: Ryan Shaver
From Thirteen Reasons Why
I loved poetry. I missed it. And one day, after several weeks, I decided to back to it. I decided to use poetry to make myself happy. Happy poems. Bright and happy sunshiny poems…
They taught a free course called Poetry: To Love Life. They promised to teach not only how to love poetry, but through poetry, how to better love ourselves. Sign me up!…
See, someone else was in that group…. Ryan Shaver, the editor of our school’s very own Lost-N-Found Gazette…Ryan’s semiannual collection of items found lying around campus. Like a love letter tossed under a desk, never discovered by its intended love…. Photographs that fell out of binders… he scanned them too. Some people may wonder how Ryan found to many interesting items to scan. Did he really find them at all? Or did he steal them? I asked him that very question after one of our poetry meetings. And he swore that everything he printed was found purely by chance…
But guess what? My Poem? He stole it… It was never a lost poem, Ryan. And you never fount it, so it did not belong in your collection. But in your collection is exactly where other people found it…
Do you know that Mr. Porter said before handing out my poem? He said that reading a poem by an unknown member of our school was the same as reading a classic poem by a dead poet. That’s right – a dead poet. … Did you have any clue at all it was me? Yes, some of you did. Ryan must have told someone…Some even wrote parodies of my poem, reading them to me in the hopes of getting under my skin…
Reason 9: Clay Jensen
Clay, honey, your name does not belong on this list…. It seems like you could know me. Like you could understand anything I told you. And the more we spoke, I knew why. The same things excited us. The same things concerned us. I wanted to tell you everything. And that hurt because some things were too scary. Some things even I didn’t understand. How could I tell someone – someone I was really talking to for the first time – everything I was thinking? I couldn’t. It was too soon. Or maybe it was too late…. Thing had gone too far by then. My mind was set. Not on ending my life. Not yet. It was set on floating through school. On never being close to anyone. That was my plan.
Reason 10: Justin Foley and Bryce Walker
Soon after Clay left, the couple from the couch walked into the bedroom. Actually, stumbled into the bedroom is more accurate… I thought she was acting drunk… Unfortunately, it wasn’t an act. She was smashed… I was still on the floor, my back against the far side of the bed, and it was dark… I thought he would tuck her in and shut the door behind him as he left… Instead of leaving, he started kissing her…. He didn’t take advantage of the situation. He wanted to. He tried for the longest time to get a reaction out of her. “Are you still awake? Do you want me to take you to the bathroom? Are you gonna puke?” This girl wasn’t totally passed out. She grunted and groaned a bit. It dawned on him – finally – that she wasn’t in a romantic mood and probably wouldn’t be for a while. So he tucked her in and said he’d check on her in a bit. Then he left…
When you left that room, you took up post right outside. And I let go of the bed and started walking toward that sliver of light, not sure what I’d say to you when I opened the door. But halfway there, two more shoes came into view… and I stopped…. The door opened, but you pulled it back and said, “No. Let her rest.” … Your friend was convincing you to let him in that room. The bedroom door opened again. But again, you pulled it shut. And you tried to make a joke of it. “Trust me,” you said, “she won’t move. She’ll just lay there.”
And what was his response? What was it? What was his reasoning for you to step aside and let him in that room?… I could not believe it… I collapsed into the closet….
It’s Bryce… Bryce Walker was in that room. No one heard him walking across the room… Getting on the bed. The bedsprings screaming under his weight. No one heard a thing…
Justin, baby, I’m not blaming you entirely. We’re in this one together. We both could have stopped it. Either one of us. We could have saved her. … This girl had two chances. And both of us let her down… He raped a girl…
So what do you think of him now, Justin? Do you hate him? Your friend that raped her, is he still your friend? Yes, but why? It must be a denial. It has to be. Sure, he’s always had a temper. Sure, he goes through girls like used underwear. But he’s always been a good friend to you. And the more you hang out with him, the more he seems like the same old guy from before, right? And if he acts like the same guy, then he couldn’t possibly have done anything wrong. Which means that you didn’t do anything wrong, either…
Reason 11: Jenny Kurtz
From Thirteen Reasons Why
Jenny asked if I needed a ride home, and I almost laughed. Was it so obvious? Did I look that terrible? So I looped my arm in hers and she helped me… So, Jenny, you led me to your car… You held me arm with such tenderness as you lowered me into the passenger seat. You buckled me in, got in your seat, then we left…What happened next, I’m not entirely sure. I wasn’t paying attention because , in your car, I felt secure…
And then … it hit…. The front wheel on my side slammed into and jumped the curb. A wooden post smacked into your front bumper and snapped back like a toothpick. A Stop sign fell backward in front of your headlights. It caught under your car and you screamed and slammed on the brakes…
Your door opened and I watched you walk to the front of your car… And what were the first words you said when you got back in the car? “Well, that sucks.” Then you put your key in the ignition and … I stopped you. I couldn’t let you drive away…
Again, I told you to park the car. We’d get a ride home from someone at the party… “Park it,” I said. “Please.” And then you told me to get out…. I asked if I could use your phone. … “We need to at least tell someone about the sign,” I said. You kept your eyes straight ahead. “They’ll trace it. They can trace phone calls, Hannah.” Then you started up the car… and you got away….
You found your way home in one piece, Jenny. But that wasn’t he problem. The sign was knocked down, and that was the problem…. It was raining. And someone was trying to deliver his pizzas on time. And someone else, headed in the opposite direction, was turning. There was no Stop sign on that corner. Not on that night. And one of them, one of the drivers, died…
Reason 12: Bryce Walker
From Th1rteen R3asons Why
After being shut in for so long, I decided to catch a breath of fresh air…. My plan was to just walk by the place… And then, someone called my name. Over the tall wooden fence,… a head poked up. And whose head would that be? Bryce Walker’s…
“Come on, join us,” he said. “We’re sobering up.”…
I walked across the wet grass and pulled a latch on the fence, popping the gate open a few inches. And behind it, the source of the steam… a redwood hot tub…
I descended into the water. It felt so relaxing. So comforting…. I opened my eyes and looked up at the night sky. Through the steam, the whole world seemed like a dream…
Bryce slid over… slowly… across the underwater bench. And his shoulder rested against mine….
Bryce’s words were soft, an obvious attempt at romance. “Hannah Baker,” he said.
Everyone knows how you are, Bryce. Everyone knows what you do. But I, for a record, did nothing to stop you…
When you were done, Bryce, I got out of the hot tub and walked two houses away. The night was over. I was done.
Reason 13: Mr. Porter
I’m giving live one more chance. And this time, I’m getting help. I’m asking for help because I cannot do this alone. I’ve tried that…
Mr. Porter, let’s see how you do…
– I’m glad that you’re here, Hannah. So tell me, when you leave this office, how do you want things to be different for you?
– You mean, how can you help?
– I guess I … I don’t know…
– Well, what do you need right now that you’re not getting? Let’s start there.
– I need it to stop.
– You need what to stop?
– I need everything to stop. People. Life.
– Hannah, do you know what you just said? You said you wanted life to stop, Hannah. Your life? Is that what you meant to say, Hannah? Those are very serious words, you know.
– I know. They are. I’m sorry….
– So what happened, Hannah? How did we get here?
– We? Or how did I get here?
– You, Hannah. How did you get to this point? I know you can’t sum it all up. It’s the snowball effect, am I right?… It’s one thing on top of another. It’s too much, isn’t it? It’s too hard…
– You want me to move beyond this… I think I’m done here… I got what I came for…
– I think there’s more we can talk about, Hannah.
– No, I think we’ve figured it out. I need to move on and get over it.
– Not get over it, Hannah. But sometimes there’s nothing left to do but move on.
– You are right. I know.
– Hannah, I don’t understand why you’re in such a hurry to leave.
– Because I need to get on with things, Mr. Porter. If nothing’s going to change, then I’d better get on with it, right?
– Hannah, what are you talking about?
– I’m talking about my life, Mr. Porter.
– Hannah, wait.
I’m walking down the hall. His door is closed behind me. It’s staying closed. He’s not coming. He’s letting me go. I think I’ve made myself very clear, but no one’s stepping forward to stop me. A lot of you cared, just not enough. And that… that is what I needed to find out. And I did find out. And I’m sorry…
From Thirteen Reasons Why
* * *
The reasons behind a teen’s suicide or attempted suicide can be complex. Although suicide is relatively rare among children, the rate of suicides and suicide attempts increases tremendously during adolescence.
Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds, after accidents and homicide. It’s also thought that at least 25 attempts are made for every completed teen suicide.
Suicide rates differ between boys and girls. Girls think about and attempt suicide about twice as often as boys, and tend to attempt suicide by overdosing on drugs or cutting themselves. Yet boys die by suicide about four times as often girls, perhaps because they tend to use more lethal methods, such as firearms, hanging, or jumping from heights.
It can be hard to remember how it felt to be a teen, caught in that gray area between childhood and adulthood. Sure, it’s a time of tremendous possibility but it also can be a period of stress and worry. There’s pressure to fit in socially, to perform academically, and to act responsibly.
Adolescence is also a time of sexual identity and relationships and a need for independence that often conflicts with the rules and expectations set by others.
Teens going through major life changes (parents’ divorce, moving, a parent leaving home due to military service or parental separation, financial changes) and those who are victims of bullying are at greater risk of suicidal thoughts.
Suicide among teens often occurs following a stressful life event, such as problems at school, a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend, the death of a loved one, a divorce, or a major family conflict.
Teens who are thinking about suicide might:
- talk about suicide or death in general
- give hints that they might not be around anymore
- talk about feeling hopeless or feeling guilty
- pull away from friends or family
- write songs, poems, or letters about death, separation, and loss
- start giving away treasured possessions to siblings or friends
- lose the desire to take part in favorite things or activities
- have trouble concentrating or thinking clearly
- experience changes in eating or sleeping habits
- engage in risk-taking behaviors
- lose interest in school or sports
What Can Parents Do?
1. Watch and Listen
It’s important to try to keep the lines of communication open and express your concern, support, and love. If your teen confides in you, show that you take those concerns seriously. A fight with a friend might not seem like a big deal to you in the larger scheme of things, but for a teen it can feel immense and consuming. It’s important not to minimize or discount what your teen is going through, as this can increase his or her sense of hopelessness.
If your teen doesn’t feel comfortable talking with you, suggest a more neutral person, such as another relative, a clergy member, a coach, a school counselor, or your child’s doctor.
2. Ask Questions
Some parents are reluctant to ask teens if they have been thinking about suicide or hurting themselves. Some fear that by asking, they will plant the idea of suicide in their teen’s head.
It’s always a good idea to ask, even though doing so can be difficult. Sometimes it helps to explain why you’re asking. For instance, you might say: “I’ve noticed that you’ve been talking a lot about wanting to be dead. Have you been having thoughts about trying to kill yourself?”
3. Get Help
If you learn that your child is thinking about suicide, get help immediately. Also remember that ongoing conflicts between a parent and child can fuel the fire for a teen who is feeling isolated, misunderstood, devalued, or suicidal. Get help to air family problems and resolve them in a constructive way.
From About Teen Suicide
From Take a Stand