All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
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 went into All the Bright Places knowing nothing about it. I have discovered I like books better this way. It’s more mysterious and surprising. I want us to look at this book in three different views. A) The Writing B) A Christian's POV C) and of course the reader.
This won’t be a very long discussion because I have nothing to critique. The writing was phenomenal. Perfect. Spectacular. It flowed smoothly and painted the perfect picture of Indiana. I’ve never been there but I could see it. Yet, it did have a certain cloud over it. Even in the happy moments it was there. That aspect of it was the strongest thing about Niven’s writing because it reflected the characters’ lives. They were trying to be happy and appear normal but because of their circumstances they weren’t.
A Christian’s POV
As good as this book was it had moral downfalls that couldn't be overlooked. I think a more detailed account of those downfalls is necessary, so here we are. It had a lot of swearing. The F-word was said 12 times and though this is a deplorable word no matter how it is said, I should note that it was not used in the literal meaning of the word. It was used at its heaviest point, in the middle of the book.
It also had a little more sexual content. There is a kissing scene that is detailed but goes no further than kissing. The two instances where they do go further are not detailed and are more of what might be in a PG-13 movie, more implied than described.
Now, don’t think I’ve skipped the obvious. This section is dedicated solely to the suicide aspect. This may be a direct turn-off for some of you and that’s okay. But, I believe it’s a topic that should not be avoided. As a reader, I like to read fun, light books. But, I also like to read books that further my understanding and knowledge about a subject. All the Bright Places does so with suicide.
You are inside the head of a depressed, suicidal, teenager half the book. I came to understand suicide so much more. I don’t believe it’s right, but I don’t think it’s wrong to understand something that affects so many people.
Sometimes we can see things like this and be too quick to judge, condemn, or look away. But those people are worth just as much as us and if we do anything other than try to help them and love them, we’re just confirming the thoughts of worthlessness and encouraging the depression to spread deeper. This book made me look at suicidal people in a different light. Sadly, I wouldn't recommend this book because of the content.
Alcohol/drugs: Drugs are mentioned and Finch overdoses once
Sexual Content: Described above
Spiritual Content: Church and God are mentioned but that is about it
Currently Reading: Crown of Midnight (Throne of glass series #2) by Sarah J. Maas
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