Why Did I Listen To All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven?
I listen to All The Bright Places because I had read the advance reader copy in 2015 but, never reviewed it. As my goal for April and May was to catch up on some of my Netgalley reads, I decided that instead of re-reading it, I would listen to it instead. I honestly only remembered bits and pieces from my first read since it was six years ago!
What’s The Story Here?
All The Bright Places is about mental illness. It follows the lives and relationship of Theodore Finch and Violet Markey who are both seniors in high school. Both are reentering life follow unique circumstances and find themselves drawn together as they work on a class project. They appear to be complete opposites but could there be more beneath the surface?
How Did I Like All The Bright Places?
I’m honestly conflicted about how I feel regarding All The Bright Places. This is a book that tackles mental illness straight on which I appreciated but, also felt could be problematic. Finch is not honest with himself or with Violet and that makes it hard for me to fully root for him. He creates whatever illusion he knows that someone wants to see in order to make them happy. Meanwhile, Violet is still struggling with the aftermath of a tragic accident, and is trying to figure out how to fully live life again without just pretending to do so. These two characters are juxtaposed throughout and while this type of set up often times works, it just did not fully work for me in this case.
What I did enjoy about All The Bright Places was the descriptions of the places which Finch and Violet went to visit for the wandering project. I also enjoyed the realistic feel of high school – and how high school could be for someone struggling with mental illness. In her authors note, Jennifer Niven discusses how she wanted to open up discussion about mental illness and the stigma attached to it especially for younger adults. She provides resources and talks about personal experiences which may have influenced her writing of this book. I just wish I could have enjoyed it better.
How’s The Narration?
All The Bright Places is 11 hours and 4 minutes and is narrated by Kirby Heyborne and Ariadne Meyers. As the story alternates perspectives so does the narration. I found both narrators to be easy to listen to and thought that they brought the proper amount of emotion to the story. I think I found myself enjoying the story more with the narration than I did when I originally read it back in 2015. There was just something compelling about listening to the narrators tell the story even if I wasn’t full attached to the characters.
Rating: 3 Stars
Audiobook review layout borrowed from April @ Good Books and Good Wine.