This book was hyped- seriously, seriously hyped. So hyped that it was labelled as “the next Eleanor and Park AND Fault In Our Stars”. And considering the fact that I thought both of those were overhyped, I was really reluctant to pick up this book…
And thank goodness I ignored my instincts and went for it anyway. I will say straight off the bat that I was I was impressed with All the Bright Places. It was one of the most raw, real portrayals of depression I’ve seen. I’ve read quite a few other books on the subject, but none have felt as authentic as this one.
Perhaps that was because unlike so many others in the genre, it didn’t moralise or postulate about the causes of depression- it just stated things as they are. And by doing so, it really allowed the emotional punches to hit home.
And boy when those punches hit, I really felt them. Somehow I managed to hold myself back from ugly crying in public- though I’m not sure how. The whole book was an emotional rollercoaster- pulling and pushing from joy to despair in a matter of minutes.
And what about the characters? I may have used the term “real” quite a few times in this post, but unfortunately that’s the most applicable term for the characters in this book. To say they “leapt off the page” would be inaccurate as it would imply that I felt like these characters were actually part of a book in the first place- in truth, I felt so sucked into their world, that I felt like I was just there, watching from inside Finch’s cupboard.
All the while, it managed to portray one of my favourite subjects perfectly: the power of words. A significant theme in this book was how words have weight and how a single word can carry so much meaning. I even enjoyed the back and forth with Virginia Woolf quotes- and I am usually not a fan of excessive quoting or Woolf- so consider me impressed again!
Overall, this was a very satisfying read- I connected a huge deal with the story, the characters and the subject matter. The only downside is that, ironically, it is a little bit too realistic- after I finished I just felt empty and down- which, while to be expected and points to a job well done, was a little disappointing considering the uplifting vein that the book began in. My advice: don’t read this if you want to be in a good mood. Otherwise, reading All the Bright Places is well worth the dark place it takes you to.
Rating: 4/5 bananas
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Did you think it was as authentic as I did? Let me know in the comments!