Book Reviews / Food for Thought

Book Review: All The Bright Places

WHY DID NOBODY WARN ME THIS BOOK WAS GOING TO MAKE ME CRY?

Finch and Violet meet on the roof of their school’s bell tower, both intending to jump to their deaths.  Ever since the death of her sister, Violet has been unable to find joy in her life.  Her life has changed so dramatically that she can’t imagine returning to “normal”.  Finch, we learn, is deeply troubled and hard to pin down.  While most of his classmates have labeled him a freak due to his erratic behavior, he is still an enigma whose mystery and brooding looks are enticing to many a teen girl.

After Finch talks Violet down, they embark on a friendship and adventure.  They journey around their state of Indiana to discover its unique wonders.  With each landmark they grow more comfortable with each other and friendship turns to love.

While this sounds like a cute story of teen love, it is also one of the best depictions of mental illness I have seen.  Don’t forget: this novel opens with two teenagers trying to kill themselves.  If you liked The Fault In Our Stars, you will love this, as it is a more realistic portrait of what goes on in the teenage mind.  You get glimpses of the parents and adults who contribute – for better or worse – to the state of mind of the central characters; but at it’s core, this is a story about Finch and Violet because in the complex mind of someone in the throes of depression, you can’t see beyond the immediate.

5 out of 5 stars.

all the bright places

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