All the Bright places by Jennifer Niven is a story about 2 teenagers dealing with death in their own way. Theodore Finch is fascinated by death. He keeps thinking of new ways to kill himself, but also of reasons to stay alive. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, so she can escape her small Indiana town and aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the school’s bell tower it is not clear who saves whom. Soon Finch only feels like himself when he is around Violet, and Violet stops counting the days until graduation when she is with Finch. But as Violet’s world starts growing again, Finch’s world only shrinks.
A terrible romanticization of mental health and suicide
- Suicide as a trope
- Mental health as a trope
- Characters lack personality
“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”Jennifer Niven, All The Bright Places
“What a terrible feeling to love someone and not be able to help them.”Jennifer Niven, All The Bright Places
This book was the Fiction Fanatics Book Club pick for August. I don’t think I would have picked this up if it wasn’t for that. While the synopsis of this book definitely sounds intriguing, it also comes very close to personal experiences I have had. Normally I would not pick up a book that comes that close but I did in this case. I regret it.
What I hoped All The Bright Places would be
Suicide is a something people don’t like to talk about, yet it really should be talked about. So many people are struggling with suicidal thoughts and feel like they cannot talk about it. That’s why its so important to have books about suicide, especially Young Adult books about it. I was hoping this book with deal with suicide in a respectable way, showing the struggle of suicidal thoughts.
What All The Bright Places Turned out to be
A pure romanticization of suicide and mental health issues. This book did not handle these issues well at all. This book glorifies suicide and makes it a romantic thing when it is absolutely the opposite.
Finch has barely any personality. All we know about him is that he struggles with mental health issues and that’s it. His family and friends just call him weird and that’s it. His school councilor mentions that he could have bipolar disorder but its left at that and not mentioned again. Nobody actually offers Finch any help and he doesn’t try to reach out himself either. Meanwhile Violet is depressed and at the point of suicide over the death of her sister yet makes a complete 180 after meeting Finch and becomes happy again. It just felt incredibly sudden and way too fast. I do not want to go into spoilers in this review but it does not get better.
I cried for the last 50 pages of this book, but not because of the book itself. It just reminded me of what I have gone through myself and this book feels like someone tried to make what I went through romantic and failed miserably.
“It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.”Jennifer Niven, All The Bright Places
This book gets a 1 out of 10 for me and will make the list of my most hated books of 2020, and honestly at this point, of all time. I can see what Jennifer Niven tried to accomplish with this book but in my opinion she utterly failed and put out a quite offensive book.
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