You know one of those stories when you read about the love between two people and it just gives you this fluttery feeling, that little twinge in your chest, a small skip of a heartbeat. A kind of love that you know will not and can not happen in any stage of your life (sorry, I’m talking about myself here), but when you read about it you can literally FEEL that love inside your heart. And when the story is finished you just lie there, crying, holding that book close to your chest, and staring at the walls feeling absolutely shattered. All The Bright Places was that kind of book for me.
Book Synopsis (taken from Goodreads):
“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.”
My Take on the Book:
When I read this blurb I knew it that it’s not gonna have a happy ending. This isn’t a spoiler, it’s just very very extremely obvious.
Let me make one thing clear; All the Bright Places has A-LOT of similarities with The Fault in Our Stars. But this time instead of battling with cancer, our protagonists are battling with depression and mental illness.
Now you might be asking, “So why should I give a damn about this book when I know it’s exactly like TFiOS? Nothing original there!”
Even though it has a lot of similarities with it (two broken people – who are very witty, charming, their literary taste and IQ level is spectacular – find love and hope within each other), but ATBP is still unique in it’s own way.
“The thing I realize is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.”
The love story felt… how do I explain this… deeper? Better? I don’t know why but to me Theo and Violet felt more in love with each other than Gus and Hazel.
And now the John Green and TFiOS fans will be like *gasp* “BLASPHEMY!!!”
I myself am a die-hard John Green fan (nothing can replace my love for his work), but I appreciate other stories which come out stronger in some aspects.
“You are all the colors in one, at full brightness.”
The writing style, the narrative, the characters and the story; I couldn’t find even a single flaw in it. The subject matter (mental illness and depression) was handled with perfection and sensitivity.
This book hit home to me because I myself have suffered from chronic depression for the past 5 years. My conditions have never been that worse that I may fascinate about suicide (God forbid) but I know the pain one suffers from when he/she can’t see past that darkness which consumes them day and night.
Some people have said that all the supporting characters in it were shallow assholes. But the thing is that Jennifer Niven deliberately made them like that! Because sometimes in real life mental illnesses and depression isn’t taken that seriously. “Ah he’s just like that.”, “Whatever, she gets in these moods.”, “What a sad little freak!”
“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.”
When you bully someone, hurt someone, judge someone, do you actually know what HELL they might be going through within their mind? What kind of monsters they might be dealing with? The author of this book has depicted this sickening aspect of our society in such a heartbreaking way.
It wasn’t all just sad. As the name of the book goes, Jennifer showed us those “bright places” where Theo and Violet found strength and purpose. It made me smile, laugh, cry tears of joy and sorrow altogether.
“No more winter at all. Finch, you brought me spring.”
It was a very beautiful (and devastating) experience for me. Thank you Jennifer Niven. I’ll be looking more from you in the future.
“What if life could be this way? Only the happy parts, none of the terrible, not even the mildly unpleasant. What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good? This is what I want to do with Violet – give her only the good, keep away the bad, so that good is all we ever have around us.”
All The Bright Places is going to be adapted to a major motion picture in 2017 (starring Elle Fanning as Violet) and I guarantee you that it’s gonna be TERRIBLE. Just read the book, please! Elle Fanning just does NOT fit into the spectrum of my imagination for the role of Violet Markey; and I’m not a big fan of the director as well. My last remaining 10% hope in the movie relies on the casting of Theodore. Let’s see what they do there!