A few weeks ago I finished All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.
All The Bright Places is a stand-alone novel about a girl named Violet Markey, who has lost her sister and is now living day-by-day with this intense longing for the future burning inside of her. She longs for the day when she finishes high school and goes to college in order to escape the confinements of her small town. The book also follows Theodore Finch who holds a deep fascination for death and has had many attempts at suicide, but every time he tries, something good, no matter how small gets in his way.
During this particular attempt, it is Violet who re-markey-ably gets in Finch’s way of self-termination. Finch knows that this is a good thing and wants to know more about why she got in his way of death. It isn’t until history class, where, as the result of a group project Violet and Finch begin their journey to explore Indiana’s “natural wonders” and Violet learns to start living out her days instead of counting them down.
But as Violet’s world begins to grow and fill will love and wonder; Finch’s world begins to shrink.
This is an intense novel compared to the likes of John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Gayle Forman, Jenny Downham, and Jay Asher. It opens our minds up to mental health and how love can do crazy things.
My initial thoughts when I was reading, up until halfway through the book were;
”I do NOT like this book!”
But I kept reading it anyways because I had this voice in my head saying; “It will get better.“ Was it right? Damn right it was!
It got better in a suspenseful and I-want-to-throw-this-book way. From around-about the middle of the book to the end, I was gripping and turning the pages so hard and fast I was terrified. Terrified for Finch and Violet. Terrified for their future. And Terrified I was going to tear the pages out of the book. But I was also intrigued. Every place they visited I added to my list. From the very first one – the tallest hill in Indiana, to the deepest bluest lake. These places and the characters love for adventure and Niven’s artistic arrangement of words kept my hands glued to the book.
Just as Finch told his younger sister to; Jeniffer Niven made the book lovely. Because if I learnt one thing from Finch, it was that you must accept all the bad things in life as a learning curve and all the bad words are there acting as a stairway, leading up to the loveliness at the top. Don’t hate on the bad words because that’s it will makes you a bad person yourself. Love the bad words and turn them into something sweet.
“Make them Lovely.”
I don’t normally cry when I read but personal letters – especially heartfelt letters to those who have died – really crack my heart open and make the book seem so much more real to that I begin to choke and tear up as I feel a real connection with the character on a more intimate and personal level that almost feels like an invasion of privacy. Something that is so taboo it causes a great ache and pain that I will never understand. It makes me feel privileged and loved. To go out and love and not lose sight of what I have in front of me.
Although I was quite disappointed that it took around 170 pages for me to really get engaged and connect with the book; I didn’t really understand what all the hype was about that surrounded the book at its release. I do know one thing, and it is that this book came from the heart of someone who had experienced this deep and immense pain and she was willing to open her heart and share her story and pain in this book and I bless her for doing that. This will not be just another book I read, nor will it be my favourite but I will be a big eye-opener and a lesson to not waste my life in feeling sorry for myself. To not take the easy road out because of you do not take risks or venture out of your comfort zone; if you give up all you love and live in a security bubble; then you won’t truly live and your story will not be one to tell, rather one to shrug off.
I give this book ★★★☆☆ (3 stars)
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© Jasper+Spice 2015. All Rights Reserved. Please do not use without permission. This book review was not sponsored in any way and all opinions are entirely my own. The photo was originally posted on my Instagram @jasperandspice.
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