All The Bright Places has been a book I’ve wanted to read for ages but honestly I was just waiting for it to come out in paperback. I should probably get a library card but I have an addiction to buying books that can’t be helped. Anywho, I’ll shut up and talk about what I thought about this book now!
Paperback, 388 pages
Published January 8th 2015 by Penguin
ISBN 0141357037 (ISBN13: 9780141357034)
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.
I don’t really have anything horrible or totally great to say about this book. I really did enjoy it and I don’t have near as many issues with it as a lot of readers did but I also wouldn’t praise it as being one of the best I’ve ever read.
It’s been compared to The Fault In Our Stars for many obvious reasons. The whole sick star-crossed lovers thing plays out in both books just obviously with different illnesses. I think the thing about Jennifer Niven’s book is that it’s not surprising. You pretty much know what’s coming the entire time unlike The Fault In Our Stars. So it’s still extremely sad it just didn’t pack as big a punch.
From the start Finch and Violet both suck you into their world and it’s hard to not feel anything but sympathy for them. They have completely different stories that lead to their meeting but deep down it’s all just heart breaking. Which I think is what a lot of people had an issue with because that heart-break not only consumed them but it became them.
It never really felt like Violet and Finch were anything other than their depression and while I did think there were some moments for Violet where you could see beyond it the same can’t be said for Finch.
The one thing that I will say about this book is that while I was reading it I just had the sense that Niven had been there before in real life. I just kept thinking to myself that I wouldn’t be surprised if this book came from a place of absolute truth just bent to look like fiction. Turns out it was and while I don’t know how much of it is truth I could feel the honesty through the book. I think maybe it just became a little bit more fictionalized and it put a little bit of a warped spin on mental illness.
I know this isn’t a book for everyone and I certainly know that if you have ever dealt with any kind of depression it may be a book that you can either really relate to or that will make you say that’s not how it is at all. Because it’s different for every one. I would give this book a chance though if it’s a genre you enjoy. At the end of it while it maybe got some things “wrong” I did feel like it was a beautifully told store worthy of being read.
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