Dear Mr. Asher
Suicide. Seeing that very word about a month ago would've made my eyes bug and my fingers hit backspace frantically until it was gone. But not today. The day I came across 13 Reasons Why I never thought it would change my life, but I guess you never know what a book can do when you just read the inside flap. The next day, I was sick, and I read through the whole first half of the book. The day after, I was at school, and I was finished. Those few days were different. I looked at my classmates differently. I looked at my teachers differently. I even looked at our lunch ladies differently. I thought about my life. I thought about my family. I thought about my friends. I thought, and thought, and thought. I remember being more observant, walking down the halls, seeing their faces. Seeing their face was something I was trying to overcome. I wanted to see more. I wanted to know their story. I wanted to make sure that no one was going through what Hannah Baker did.
I've learned that no matter how small, no matter if it's a joke, no matter if you were friends; every little thing makes an impact. An impact on someone's self confidence or even an impact on someone's life. Some people are able to shake off little comments like, "Wow, you're dumb." But some people take it straight to the heart. They take it personally, and believe the jerk who said it, no matter how smart they know they are. It has made me careful of what I say, knowing that they could be severely hurt by it. No one should be hurt like that. No one should be compelled to take their own life, due to those insensitive people out there, who don't care about anyone but themselves.
Lately, I've been kind of down on myself, but near the peak of my doubting, self pity, and insulting thoughts about myself, your book clears my mind, and I stop, realize what I'm doing, and realize what this could do to me. I don't really want to be harsh on myself. But it happens any way, but now I have the power to control it. No one knows my thoughts, just like know one knew Hannah Baker's thoughts; no one would know if I was planning on hurting myself in any way. Except for me. Because of your book I've realized that no one can read my mind, so I've got to take care of myself.
Your book has made me a better person. About a month ago I would've described myself as a cupcake, but now, I've got the frosting. I have the nicer touch to me, the thing that people appreciate. It's made me want to help people, made me want to volunteer, made me really care about the people around me. I don't think people notice, but I do. I say thank you more often, I offer to help more, and I take suggestions better.
Your book has truly made me a braver human being. I am very proud not to shy away from an old fear of mine. Some thing that is serious, something that is not OK, something that I want to prevent; suicide.
Avery E. Novak