Friday, February 19, 2010

Discuss Amongst Yourselves (and I'll listen in)

On Thursday, I attended the monthly book discussion hosted by the Friends of Los Osos Library. In the past, they've discussed the likes of Shakespeare and Dickens. This time, they!

For an hour-and-a-half, I listened in on some great analysis of scenes and characters from Thirteen Reasons Why. They also discussed the issue of suicide from teen versus adult perspectives. It was fun to hear their answers to questions asked by the moderator, and then get to chat about where certain ideas came from.

The moderator, Sue McGinty, is sitting closest to the camera.
She was a member of S.L.O.W. for Children,
mentioned in my acknowledgments page,
and helped critique an early draft of the beginning of my book.

If you haven't read 13RW and don't want a couple of important scenes spoiled, turn away right now!!! Better yet, go buy yourself a copy (and one for a friend), read it, then come back and read what I'm about to say.

The group was discussing the scene between Clay and Hannah in the bedroom. Was there anything Clay could have done differently, or would Hannah just keep insisting that he leave the room? If he had stayed, would Hannah still be alive?

Then one member of the discussion pointed something out. If Clay had stayed, and if the stop sign still got knocked down, Clay may not have been there when the elderly man needed help after the car crash. Maybe no one would have run to the man's house to tell his wife, who had a bad heart, that he was okay. If Clay had stayed in the bedroom, the elderly woman may have had a heart attack. So there were possibly two lives in the balance at that moment.

"Everything...affects everything."

In a book with so many what-ifs, that's definitely not one I had considered.

But from here on out, I'm telling everyone I did it on purpose!


Pen and Ink said...

I read 13 Reasons Why at hyper speed. I had to hear those tapes. Great book. Moving. Sad. I wanted to save Hannah.

Lupe F.

SaraLucinda said...

I THOUGHT THAT WHEN I READ THE BOOK! Yay, that makes me so happy. And I am almost finished with a book I am writing that shows just how everything we do can change our own lives and the lives of everyone around us. =]

Jay Asher said...

At hyper speed? Now that's a great compliment!

Good luck with your book, SaraLucinda! And it's weird to think that people found connections in my book that I didn't even know about. Weird, but very cool!

pinkflipflops said...

I think it is interesting that we all put our own thoughts behind characters backstories that aren't shared. I had that feeling when I just recently read The Reader. You know there is a reason someone is like that or does something but you have to make your own story up because it wasn't shared by the author. Kind of interesting that you as the author never thought of that possibility before. I have still not read your book, but it is on my TBR list. :)

Anonymous said...

I just finished the book and thought it was very good. I liked the suspense, but it was also very sad. I had a question about the last couple pages. Was Skye going in the same path as Hannah?

Jay Asher said...

I agree, pinkflipflops (is that Dutch?). Readers bring almost as much to the story as the author. The best books, I believe, encourage that relationship.

And Anon., I don't know for sure if Skye was going that way. Maybe. But that "maybe" is enough for Clay to think she needs to know that someone notices her and cares.

I like Clay!

ysmnn. said...

i read it! and it was super good!:)

so, was Skye going to commit suicide too?

pshh, i LOVE clay♥

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this story! I highly recommend it for any parent of a teenager. It was a random find at the book store that drew me to it and read it a year ago.
Jay Asher you touched my life!
I am using this book for a summary paper in my Literature class, because all themes through out this can relate to everyone in one way or another.
Thank you!!!!!
Tiffin, OH