9 Feb
Posted in: parenting, reading
By    2 Comments

Meet an Author: Jay Asher

cover of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Books are important and talking with authors about their books is a privilege. Authors are like rock stars for me. I had the chance to talk with and listen to author Jay Asher last week. He stopped in my town as part of his 50 States Against Bullying author tour. I was Christmas-morning excited to hear what he had to say. I read his book, 13 Reasons Why, almost three years ago, and still think about the topics he wrote about. It resonated powerfully with my past high school self and is an important read for parents in the midst of raising tweens and teens.

I read the book for a public library book club. Reading the description of the book, the word suicide caught my attention. I told myself it would be sad. Suicide has affected my family. I was uncomfortable. A librarian assured me the book was much more than that one word, and it is. When I recommend the book, I always say it’s about suicide, but not really. One of the characters does take her life, but the book is about the things we do and say to each other as well as the things we choose to not do and words we never utter.

I arrived at the library this week to find a line of teens, some who would wait in line 45 minutes until they were allowed in the meeting room to be seated, to listen to an author speak. I’m continually amazed a person can write a string of words placed in paragraphs on pages bundled together and impact lives. That’s what good authors do. Words are powerful. Those teens had the chance to meet a man they admired because of a book he wrote.

Jay Asher was funny, likable, and captivating. He addressed the mixed group of adults and teens in a way that made the audience comfortable and part of his story. I stood in line surrounded by people younger than myself and listened to their stories while we waited for our turn to have our books signed. We were all different, but related intimately with parts of 13 Reasons Why. We were connected by being the victim of cruel words, or the person who said them. We didn’t act or maybe we did. The person on my left told me, “I just want to be more kind, a better person than I’ve been.”

We have been dealing with weeks of unkind things happening in middle school at our house by a student and a teacher alike. Things being said without any thought given to how those words would be received. A person believing she is portraying one thing when it’s being perceived another way. I came home from the library that night and had yet another conversation with my son about this one class at school. I told him this: “You have control of only you. What you say, what you do or don’t do are in your control. Think it through before you act or speak. Be more kind than needed.”

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  • I’m so jealous of your writing. You hit the whole experience just right. So glad you were able to be there and experience the evening.

  • […] Here’s a fabulous post about the evening, written by a library supporter/mom who attended the event. […]