Format: eBook (Kindle)
Length: 378 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Mental Health
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Date of Publication: 6th January, 2015
Rating: 5/5 stars
All the Bright Places was one of the BOTM for the Book Club. I love reading for bookclubs and readlongs because it is an almost sure thing that the books are going to be great. WE also find a lot of different interpretations of a story which makes for interesting discussions.
The book is apparently also being adapted into a movie which will be interesting. I am always on the look out for more books that deal with mental health because it cannot be talked about enough so I was very excited about reading it.
“Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.“
On the surface, All the Bright Places is a tried and tested story. A troubled boy and a sweet girl with a tragic past are brought together for a project and each one helps the other in ways that they do not understand and they fall hopelessly in love with each other. We have read hundreds of books and watched thousands of movies with the same plot. What makes this book different is the way each issue was handled. Mental health was not made trivial nor was it romanticized. It was reiterated that professional help is required and an individual cannot fight his way out without a strong support system.
I loved the character of Violet. She was not inherently good or bad. Her shades of gray made her endearing. Her struggles with guilt and trying to put on a brave face for her parents were moving. I did not take to Finch’s character so easily. I did not like the way that he expected the world to dance to his tunes while he did what he pleased. This issue cropped up again when Finch threw rocks at Violet’s window and threatened to wake up the whole neighbourhood if she didn’t go out in the middle of the night with him to god knows where. I wish authors would stop turning situations like this into something desirable. It sets a bad precedent when a girl who is clearly not comfortable with a situation is coerced into doing something because ‘it is good for her’.
I was glad that the author stayed true in descriptions of depression and manic. She did not try to miraculously find a cure for it nor suggest that falling in love with Violet and having those feelings reciprocated could cure Finch of his disease. I grew to like his character towards the middle of the book especially with the running for flowers scene. Having said that, I must applaud the author for painting this realistic picture and showing that dealing with mental illness is no joke.
All the Bright Places is Jennifer Niven’s first book for young adults. By the time she was ten, she had already written numerous songs, a poem, two autobiographies, a Christmas story, several picture books, a play, a series of prison mysteries, a collection of short stories and a partially finished novel.
In 2000 she started writing full-time, contributing to her web magazine and dabbling in TV. Although she grew up in Indiana, she now lives in Los Angeles.
Her work include:
- The Ice Master (2000)
- Ada Blackjack (2003)
- The Aqua Net Diaries (2009)
- Velva Jean Learns to Drive (2009)
- Velva Jean learns to Fly (2011)
- Becoming Clementine (2012)
- American Blonde (2014)
- All the Bright Places (2015)
- Holding up the Universe (2016)
TL;DR: A beautifully written book that made me cry and put me in a big time book-coma
What are some of the books that you liked that dealt with mental health?
Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life