All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sister Read Review by Norma & Brenda
Brenda’s Thoughts: I was interested in reading All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven because I was curious about how a character with a mental illness was going to be portrayed in this story. I am not even really sure if that was what the story was even about. I think different life experiences and exposure to mental illness will have some people like Norma and I feeling different ways towards this book.
Norma’s Thoughts: As usual I went into this book blind so I didn’t have any preconceptions or idea on the subject matter of this book. I wanted to listen to another audiobook so I chose this one as it was available on Overdrive. I really liked the narrators and I found it was another enjoyable audiobook that was easy for me to stay focused while listening to.
For both of us we read mostly for the pure enjoyment of it and love feeling many emotions as we read so with that being said we both really enjoyed this book. If we were to look at it that way All the Bright Places is a heartbreaking, charming, tragic love story between two young people with themes of mental illness, suicide, loss, grief, bullying and abuse. Which we both believe was what this story was about. Both of our hearts broke for Theodore Finch and at times Brenda wasn’t sure she could finish reading as seeing his darkness was very real to her. For me I just accepted the story for what it was and felt for Finch and Violet throughout both of their struggles and Violet’s recovery with the help of Finch’s love for her.
Some Quotes from Finch that were very real to us:
“The thing is, they were all perfect days.” At the end of the day all the perfect days don’t change anything when you are dealing with the darkness within yourself.
“I am not a compilation of symptoms. Not a casualty of shitty parents and even shittier chemical makeup. Not a problem. Not a diagnosis. Not an illness. Not something to be rescued. I am a person.”
If we were looking at it solely on a book about a character with a mental illness we wanted a little bit more from the story here. We wanted to see some type of hope and more depth in how someone can be treated with a mental illness. We won’t get too much more into this as we don’t want to reveal too much.
We often hear people say that this subject matter is a difficult subject and that we need to hear more about it and we agree we definitely need to hear more but are not sure like this. We need to know that there is hope for mental illness and it can be treated.
To sum it all up it was an enjoyable, at times amusing, heartbreaking, and an emotional read with a bittersweet ending. Would recommend.