All the Bright Places (audiobook)
by Jennifer Niven
Where do I begin with this one? It was heart-wrenching, humorous, and anxiety-ridden. I have said before I don’t like reading books about suicide, but I just keep picking them up, don’t I? Luckily, it is an engaging story, and an important one for young adults to read.
All the Bright Places is 75% love story and 25% pain. Violet and Finch meet in the bell tower of their high school. Violet is depressed over the death of her sister, who passed away in a car crash about 8 months earlier. Finch, we quickly learn, has undiagnosed bipolar disorder, as well as an unstable and unsupportive home environment – divorced parents, abusive dad, unstable mom, etc. His favorite thing to do is research historical suicides, as well as weigh the pros and cons of each method. It gets around that Violet talked Finch off the ledge, when it was actually the opposite. The two become partners on a school project and Finch quickly falls in love with Violet (Ultra Violet ReMARKEYable), but it takes some convincing for Violet to feel the same. Eventually, she starts to come out of her depression, while Finch sinks even deeper into his mental illness.
What I liked about this book was the door I was given into the mind of someone with the highs and lows of bipolar disorder. I, myself, have never considered suicide, nor have I ever lost someone close in the way that Violet has, but I found it fascinating to enter a world I would otherwise not experience. That is the joy of reading! I also enjoyed their love story, even if it wasn’t very believable.
What I didn’t like about this book was the way it kind of implied that their relationship could save each other. It didn’t directly say that, but Finch helped Violet out of her depression, and experienced a high while with Violet, but when she wasn’t allowed to see him, he began to spiral. What if they’d stayed together? Would he have stayed happy or would he still have experienced the deepest, darkest low? From my experience (I have two close relatives who contemplated suicide), it is brain chemistry. I have also been depressed due to relationships, and suicide has never crossed my mind as an option.
Book 47 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)