I have to be honest with you, #ReadForMentalHealth is not an easy event to participate in. I hope all of you reading along with us are taking care of yourselves. Make sure to give your brain plenty of breaks, and don’t be afraid to walk away from a book if it is too triggering.
Yesterday’s choice, Wintergirls, was a race to the climax. How high can we go on the stress level? Today I chose a much different animal.
I wouldn’t say All the Bright Places is anti-stress. Because it definitely isn’t. It can be very triggering at times, so you need to be warned about that. But Jennifer Niven’s book is more like a gender-swapped manic-pixie-dream-girl story (except you still have the boy crushing on/trying to conquer the popular unattainable girl).
One thing this book DOES do well is show depression in two very different ways: the constant, cyclical manic vs depressive bipolar type that Fitch has fought his whole life–giving him his warrior/rebel personality; and then the tragedy-fueled Violet, who doesn’t know what to do with all this pain suddenly weighing her down.
This sounds like a combination destined for disaster, but they pull each other…literally…off the ledge. How long is this kind of relationship sustainable, though? I questioned it through the entire book. Depression can be magnetic at times in relationships, but it isn’t always healthy, and it can be super dangerous. I definitely had on my adult pants for a lot of the book, and was very much concerned about both kids throughout the whole thing.
I might have liked All the Bright Places better if I hadn’t just read Wintergirls, but I couldn’t help comparing the two…and ALBP just couldn’t match up. Also…it really just felt like a gender-swapped Paper Towns set in Indiana (and they HATED on my home state the ENTIRE time), so it just fell a little flat. The concept is there, but it almost felt like she was just giving us textbook mental illnesses instead of really making them people, if that makes any sense. This book didn’t give me FEELS…and it should have.
Two Book Dragons.