Merrill Middle School
Des Moines, IA
Dear Jay Asher,
I owe you my life. I mean that in every literal sense. I wanted to die because of too many things to list that were dragging me into depression, but then I read your book. I believe you have probably saved more than just me with Thirteen Reasons Why. You may not realize it, but I'm sure there are many people out there who you have saved.
When I first received your book from a very close friend, I wanted to die. I wanted to die so badly in fact that I was planning on doing it myself. That's how bad my different types of pain were getting. All of that changed however when I opened Thirteen Reasons Why.
I read about how Hannah gave up on life and I was convinced more than ever to hurt myself. Then I thought about Clay and the strength he demonstrated. He didn't quit. He struggled with Hannah's death and the box of tapes she sent to inform him why she killed herself and he stayed strong.
When I first started reading this book I felt like I had a lot in common with Hannah. We were both struggling with little things that just kept adding up. My situation was a bit different of course. For example, I have never been rumored about like she was because people just looked me over. People ignore those who are different. That's what I've noticed at least. My school does not have a best anything list, but I would certainly not be on the best side if it did.
As I read further though, I began to get angry with Hannah. She had so many opportunities to ask for help and she pushed everyone away. Then she made her decision to die. Then after that she sent out tapes that seemed to mock people and make them feel guilty by telling them everything they did wrong. I soon found that I do the same thing in some ways though and that I had no room to judge. Because at that point I had pushed away too many people to count that could have helped me.
While reading your book I fed off of Clay's strength and managed to get the courage to tell someone. It didn't really help at all because the trusted adult didn't seem to care. I realized though that if someone tells you they want to kill themselves you are simply too shocked to do much.
I have simply gotten the strength from one little book to cope on my own and with the help of a friend. My friend shares my problem and she has felt the same way. We are both blind.
Lately my life has been improving not just by what I do for me, but for how I now treat others. It gives me great happiness to realize that I can help others by my day to day actions. I don't gossip anymore because I realize that that was a big part of what was happening to Hannah. I am as kind as a human my age can be. I won't say I don't slip up once in a while. I do make mistakes and so does everyone else.
I also slip into feeling sorry for myself every once in a while and begin to feel sad. When this happens I simply think of how good I have it and I call up my friend.
With your creative writing you helped me, but it's more Clay that has saved me than anyone else. You however created Clay so it's thanks to you, my mother of course, and father that I'm sitting here writing this. And I just want to send out one big thank you.
Just if you were wondering, I have made many new friends, involved myself in things to take my mind off of sad things; I have learned to accept my disability for more of a blessing than a curse. Because of it I can now help others with my same case just as my friend did for me. I have gotten closer to my family and my family at church and realized that all of those people are there for me.
The biggest thing is how I have come to accept my disability and I'm learning to accept my circumstances.
I just can not impress enough how grateful I am that you wrote this book. It's sort of like I was meant to read it no matter how silly that seems. Thank you so much.