“All the Bright Places” Book Review


Sylvie Wolkenbreit

Sylvie Wolkenbreit, Staff Reporter

“All the Bright Places” is a book that has since been turned into a motion picture. The story follows Violet Markey, a popular, straight-A student who has recently lost her sister (Eleanor) to a car accident, and Theodore Finch, the freak, who struggles mentally, each day writing down one reason to stay alive. This is one of my favorite movies, and the book is very good as well. The author, Jennifer Niven, based it on her own personal experiences. 

Theodore (who goes by Finch) first meets Violet at the edge of a bridge, the same bridge where the accident occurred. Finch helps Violet off of the ledge and possibly saves her life. Finch develops a deep curiosity for Violet Markey. He goes out of his way to spark a friendship between the two, she pushes him away, but Finch is quite persistent. They partner up for a school project in which they are supposed to wander around Indiana and visit some landmarks or other interesting places to report on. This further encourages their relationship, and they enjoy the time they spend together.

This story, the movie in particular, strikes me as interesting because it is so real. Every part of the movie is raw and realistic. The main actress (Elle Fanning) is amazing at what she does. Her character doesn’t wear makeup, doesn’t do her hair, she doesn’t try to be someone that she doesn’t truly want to be. I highly respect that. Even though she probably was wearing makeup, the director wanted the movie to be as humble and raw as possible. Finch (Justice Smith) is quite an eccentric character. He isn’t afraid to be himself, but Finch is also dealing with struggles of his own. The character really reflects the truth of mental illness. I think our society likes to skip around the reality of the difficult parts of life, and it’s unhealthy for everyone. I respect how this movie portrays the not-so-pleasant truth of the effect of mental illness on someone’s life.

In the end, Finch shows Violet how to be happy again by showing her the small things that truly make life worth living. Finch encourages Violet to start writing again as she couldn’t bring herself to after Eleanor died. Writing was Violet’s outlet and source of happiness. Finch reintroduced Violet to the world; she even began to drive again, which she hadn’t done since before the accident.

I would recommend “All the Bright Places” to anyone currently in the right headspace. There are some heavy topics mentioned in this book/movie that could potentially trigger some people. The movie can be found on Netflix, it is very well made, and the actors are impeccable, in my opinion.