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All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven; A Review

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This is another book from the Zoella’s W H Smith book club selection. (Read the review to Girl Online ) The first time I heard about this book was when in one of Zoe’s favorite videos, sometime last year after their family holiday. I remember Zoe mentioning how she couldn’t put the book down until she had finished reading it. At that time I did not have any thoughts that I would like to read the book, until she mentioned it again in the Book club selection video. I decided to give into reading. Also, funfact I have recently enjoyed reading teen-fiction or Y/A literature.

 

When we take the idea of teen romance and teen fiction, at least to me, it looks all rosy and presents a life without any glitches. I am aware that there are writers out there who focus on teen problems but considering the numbers my guess is that it is pretty small. Lets face it that we are all in a way hoping that we would marry our high school sweethearts and have a fairy tale ending honestly we all want to disappear into a fantasy world for at least a few hours. . I thought this books would also be along the similar lines, but SPOILER ALERT this does not have a happy ending.

 

From being in a literature class I have read a few stories and poems by people who were mentally unstable, but none affected me as much as this book about a mentally unstable boy. All I can think since I finished reading is that Finch, it didn’t have to be this way. Finch to me was an enjoyment to read. It was just in his basic nature to care about the people whom he felt mattered the most to him, he just did anything that made them smile. And yes we do not see much of his interactions with the other characters but the sole person whom he interacted with is enough to understand that he is an absolute gem of a heart.

 

Finch’s character from the beginning teaches you a little by little about being a person with a mental illness although it is not diagnosed completely diagnosed. All we hear about Finch from the initial chapters is a ‘he is a freak’ or ‘he is someone with problems.’ The thing that stuck out the most to me were the chapter names  themselves Day 6 (still) being awake, to me or for that matter any ordinary person this just seems weird, for me personally I think as to how a person can be awake for six straight days or is he sleeping or how much is he sleeping.  I do not even know that this can be real symptoms of a problem, but what it teaches you is that the people who have such problems are on the constant threat of ‘missing-out’ on life. You never know when they are are going to blank off or even if they are going to wake up at all.

 

Finch’s diagnosis of being bipolar comes with his incapacity to handle the truth which leads to his death. Something that the books points out is that the lack of affection or concern shown by his family. To him they are just someone who comes and takes off. Violet even questions if anyone cared about his presence in the house. I guess this kind of reflects the position of almost the entire current generation, as parents are too busy to check with kids and are often unaware of the the child’s activities or behaviour pattern. To think of this is actually kind of sad.

 

We see as although Finch deals with his own problems he guides Violet on the path towards happiness. Violet is an example of the fragility of human emotion.The mental breakdown she faces after her sister’s death is an example of various people who take time and in many ways require a special someone to help them do the things they once enjoyed doing. One of my favorite lines which Finch says to Violet is “You need shoving not pushing.” This shows him as someone who is good for her.

One thing that I think we all will notice is that Finch and Violet did not start on the happiest note, but as Violet was finding her way back into a normal life; Finch fell deeper into the hole. From a personal point of view, I wish we could have helped Finch..
To me Finch’s character is acts on two levels of educating. 1. Educate parents to not ignore your child under any circumstance. Parent involvement in the mental and overall well being of the child is absolutely important. 2. For children or young adults or teenagers who could possibly read this it acts as a method of showing that it’s normal to feel different, all you have to do is to let the people around you know what is going on.   

For me Finch’s death affected me deeply as in a way you can say that I was angry and upset that he did not for a second think about the people he is leaving behind. To all young readers and anybody who thinks on the similar lines; suicide is not the answer.

Have you read the book? What were your reactions? Let me know in the comments.

P.S in case you notice that I have just spoken about one character or event, i tend to talk about factors that have affected me the most from the book. I am yet to learn to be completely objective.

Keep Smiling Always

Amanda

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4 thoughts on “All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven; A Review

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