The latest book I read was All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. It is a young adult book published in 2015 and an adaption is soon to be realised with Elle Fanning as Violet Markey. Jennifer Niven has also created a real website for the magazine Violet started in the novel named Germ (you start here), which talks about love, life and a lot more. You can check it out here : http://www.germmagazine.com/.
The novel is about a girl who lost her sister in a car accident and is not feeling like herself since then. One day she meets Theodore Finch in the hedge of the bell tower of their school. Then they have to do a geographic projet together and wander around Indiana. As their school project develops, their relationship becomes stronger and Violet starts to live again. However, Finch lives mostly in his head and goes through phases : bad british Finch, nerd Finch, 80’s kid Finch. He has dark thoughts and nobody is able to reach out to him. And one day he disappears… (I advise you to stop reading there if you have not read the book and you don’t want to see spoilers!)
Now into my personal thoughts. I found this book very intriguing. I had never read a book about suicide and I was fascinated by Theodore ‘s character. I enjoy how complexe his character is and how you never really can figure him out. The way he has phases and disappear from time to time says a lot about his state of mind. He is troubled and everyone seems to think this is the way he is and they never question it. The only one to mention his mental health is Embryo but he never acts on it. Theodore’s relatives all seem not to see the problem or to avoid it. It is like he is screaming and nobody seems to hear him. It is frustrating as a reader because we have all the signs and none of the characters did anything. And when, someone finally seems to want to do something about it, he withdraws himself entirely. I however do not understand why he decides to kill himself after Violet finally begins to worry about him, but I suppose mental illness does not explain itself.
Violet benefits from her relationship with Finch and I enjoy the development of her character in the novel. Theodore pushes her boundaries. With time she decides to drive again, to talk to people, to write. I found the fact that she does not count the days until graduation after a certain time and just mentions the date, is a true clue of her progression. She decides not to wear her sister’s glasses anymore and begins to live her life again after her sister’s death. She even starts a new magazine named Germ. She discovers that life has a lot to offer (even in Indiana) through wandering with Finch and going to places. This novel is about the rise of (ultra)violet.
I enjoyed the references to other authors, especially Virginia Woolf as depressing as it was. I liked the interactions by Facebook between the two characters. I found it truly authentic and it blended well with their personalities. I also found the episode of the closet poetic and that felt like a secret kept by the two of them.
I think the character of Eleanor and Amanda could have been developped more. Eleanor had a huge impact on Violet’s life and she is barely mentioned but that might be to create the idea of loss that Violet felt. It is surprising that Violet does not worry much more about her friend Amanda after learning about her suicidal thoughts, but once again Violet has been through a lot and Amanda assured her that she was fine. I appreciate that every character has flaws and there is no perfect character, which I find realistic. Even the perfect Ryan is actually a kleptomaniac.
All in all I found the story very intriguing and I could’nt put the book away. I wanted to know the end of the story. I was fond of the characters and devastated by Theodore’s death. I liked that he let objects for Violet in the places she had yet to wander. It made me want to appreaciate more the little things and the people in my life. I now also want to discover places around me. I still think about this book days after reading it, so I really recommend everyone to read it and I don’t believe that it is just for teenagers. I think everyone can take something from it.
« It’s not what you take, it’s what you leave».
Have you read the book ? Do you want to read it ? Are you excited about the film? Tell me all about it in the comments !
See you soon