One of my goals for 2015 is to get back to my roots and read more books. As the great Frederick Douglass said, ‘Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.’ Books are a passion – nay, an obsession of mine and always have been. I grew up in the library and my parents fostered my love of reading and learning. With books I have lived a thousand lives, found myself absorbed in different worlds, and learned immensely more than I could have otherwise. So put up your feet, grab a good paperback and let’s get reading!
‘All The Bright Places’ by Jennifer Niven was a hard one for me. It takes on the very adult topic of suicide in the realm of a YA novel. Perhaps this is the root of my issue with it. Although suicide is not only an adult issue and in fact touches the lives of children in immensely personal ways; there can at times in this book be a childishness about the subject. Perhaps if I read it again I would see the reasoning for some things clearer.
This book reminded me of ‘I Was Here’ by Gayle Forman which focuses on the protagonist taking a journey to understand why a friend committed suicide. This novel places the spotlight on what leads up to the suicide of one of the main characters. The last chapters of the novel shows the other main character trying to figure out what happened and if they could have prevented it. The novel is well written and flows but lacks a few key features. I feel like at times there was a lack of seriousness given to the topic. I also feel like a third person who has admitted suicidal tendencies is ignored – perhaps to their detriment? We never find out.
While I take issue with some aspects of this novel I also think that it is very good. It touches on an emotional level what people (even children) may go through as they consider suicide, and what others deal with in their lives after a loved one takes their own life. It looks at the impact we all make on the world and in our communities. Most importantly it celebrates life.
Niven states at the end of the book how suicide has affected her life, and in actuality, I believe it has probably effected almost everyone lives in some manner. She provides contact info to get help:
Suicide Prevention: afsp.org Diagnosing Mental Illness in Teens: teenmentalhealth.org Survivors: suicidology.org/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=229&name=DLFE-73.pdf Bullying: stompoutbulling.org Abuse: childhelpusa.org
“If you think something is wrong, speak up. You are not alone. It is not your fault. Help is out there.”
Click here to see my goals for 2015