I saw the cover design of Jennifer Niven‘s “All the Bright Places” while I was refreshing my instagram feed and immediately fell in love. It must have been the post-it notes and hand-written words. I looked it up on Goodreads, and after reading the summary, I just knew that I had to read this. Though I originally planned on reading a classic romance first (I picked Wuthering Heights for this category), I decided to start with “All the Bright Places” as soon as I bought it from a local bookstore.
As written in the cover, this is a book about a boy called Finch and a girl named Violet, who found each other on the ledge of the school’s bell tower. They had different reasons for being there. Violet was still mourning over losing her sister from a car accident and Finch just felt tired of being labeled the school “Freak,”but for some reason, being at the same place at the same time saved both of their lives. This shared secret drew them closer and through a US Geography project, they discovered the beautiful art of wandering. Because of Finch, Violet learned how to live, laugh, and love again. Because of Violet, Finch learned the feeling of holding something that belonged to him. This, however, was not enough.
My Rating: 5 emotional stars
This book got through me. I could relate with both of the characters. Whenever they quote literature, write words on post-it notes, write songs, write stories in their heads, it felt like I was reading a reflection of myself. We’ve all had our dark and bad moments at some point, and this is a book about those times. While I was reading it, I felt like I was part Finch and part Violet in one. My Violet self being the one who was traumatized and afraid to move on, and my Finch self being the one who appeared to be happy and uncaring on the outside, but broken and hurt inside.
I knew what I was getting into when I took this book off the shelf, but when Finch ended his life, I just could not get myself to read the next chapters properly. As Violet wandered on her own, describing everything she saw, all I could think of was Finch, drowning himself and giving up.
There’s this principle that says there are two dogs living inside of us–the black dog and the white dog–each waiting to be fed. These dogs eat and digest what you give, and then in response they cause a certain emotion to rise within us. When a person who is hurt and depressed feeds the black dog with thoughts of self-pity and selfishness, the black dog becomes stronger and repays him with feelings of hopelessness, fear, and anger. On the other hand, constantly feeding the white dog with positive and encouraging thoughts will make it stronger than the black dog, and the latter will eventually starve. In the case of Finch, he let the black dog take over, no matter how hard he tried not to.
My takeaway from this story is that everyone is going through a battle, and we should never judge a person based entirely on what we see. Sometimes, the difficult people are the ones that really need your help. Fight to live. Listen. Lend a hand.
Favorite quotes from the Book:
“‘Lovely’ is a lovely word that should be used more often.” – Finch
“You are all the colors in one, at full brightness.” – Finch
“Sometimes there’s beauty in the tough words—it’s all in how you read them.” – Finch
“It’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.” – Violet
“No longer rooted, but gold, flowing.” – Violet