all the bright places

Theodore Finch is one of those characters that you become fond of. Reading about him and the way that he sees the world gave me an insight into mental health issues and what it is like to be a teenager in todays instant world. When I was a teenager we didn’t have 24 hour contact with our friends – if I was on the house phone for longer than half an hour my Dad would shout at me for blocking the line! It worries me that teenagers these days (how old am I?!) never switch off; their brains must be a constantly revolving door of information and gossip.
Theodore is depressed ( I think) and obsessed with suicide – namely his. He is constantly thinking of ways to kill himself. To this end he finds himself on the roof of the tower at his school with the aim of jumping off. There he meets Violet Markey. Her sister has recently died in a car crash and Violet is in the grip of a profound grief. Before this she was a popular and well known student at the school and as soon as students start to notice the two people on the top of the tower Theodore gives her an option. Jump or, tell everyone that she was up there to save him – the well known crazy kid who is obsessed with suicide. She chooses life – her reputation is saved and his is just where he left it, in the crazy box.
They spend more time together; Theodore is trying to help guide Violet out of her haze of grief and get on with her life and it seems to be working. She is slowly recovering and the more they see of each other the more they start to feel for each other. The end of the book then, comes as a shock. I won’t spoil it for you but it brought home to me the fact that you never know what another person is thinking, no matter how close you are. No matter how good you think someone’s life is, there is always something going on which you may not be aware of.
Read this book. Think about Theodore and Violet and the mark they leave on the lives of all the people they meet. Then think about the mark you are leaving on all the people in your life and how important you are to them all. This book is moving and profound and although it made me sad, it was also life affirming.

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