Saturday, February 15, 2020

Book review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Book Summary
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.

Flo's Review
I wanted to read this novel in preparation for watching the movie on Netflix later this month. HA HA HA. I am so not prepared. How am I going to watch this, like with my eyes?!!? I'm getting worked up just thinking about it! (Somebody hold me!!)

Okay, this one didn't grab me right away, but as I kept reading what really struck me was being inside Finch's mind. I cannot even imagine the depths, the conversations, Jennifer had to go through to understand and share his thoughts so clearly. They felt so real. He was such a real character. Getting into his mind like that was good to see, because of the insight it gave into mental illness, but it was also incredibly hard. It will be interesting to see how Finch is portrayed on-screen because so much of how we understand him in this book is through not what he says or does, but how he feels. 

Every time one of the chsracters was all, "That's just what he does," my heart cracked a little bit more. You can see how the extremity of the internal struggle can go unnoticed by those closest, and that's scary. 

Being a girl made up largely of wanderlust, I loved the ideas of the wanderings and the adventures that Finch and Violet had around Indiana. Finding the unique, creative, off-the-beaten-path, less noticed things in your immediate vicinity can make the world and your existence seem bigger than it first appears. I like that idea. I know Florida has some crazy things (Dave Barry wrote a whole book about it). I really enjoyed seeing them for Indiana, whether they were fictional or not.

Overall, this quiet, beautiful book is so important. I learned from it, and I love when I can say that about something I read for fun. I recommend this book to anyone close to teenagers, and actually, I think anyone, period, can get something out of it. 

Seriously about this movie though...send tissues?

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