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All The Bright Places
Transcript of All The Bright Places
Also referred to as Theodore Freak, Theo, Freak, or Finch, is a senior at Bartlett high school. His life has been anything but easy, and while wishing things were different, Finch makes the most out of what he has and creates a "new" him whenever he feels it is appropriate. Finch most likely suffers from bipolar disorder, but the sheer ignorance of his family regarding his mental state prevents him from getting the help he needs, and so he remains troubled. That is, until an equally troubled miracle by the name of Violet Markey, changes something inside of him.
Another close friend of Theodore, and eventually Violet's best girl friend, Brenda is a tough character who speaks her mind, yet is able to become sensitive when she needs to be.
Theodore's best friend (until Violet), Charlie Donahue is a naturally skilled, black athlete who refuses to adhere to racial stereotypes and so, despite his uncanny abilities, he chooses more academic and "nerdy" extracurriculars to master. His relationship with Theo is odd as they do not have anything in common.
This story takes place in a modern-day town called Bartlett, Indiana. While Bartlett is the main location of the story, Violet and Theodore travel to places across Indiana for the majority of their senior year of high school for a class project. They make it a point to leave something at every location, this is symbolic of their moving on to bigger and better things.
All The Bright Places
As her senior year begins, Violet Markey finds herself unable to move on from the tragically sudden death of her best friend and only sister, Eleanor, who was killed in a car accident that Violet somehow survived, nearly a year earlier. When Violet finds herself teetering on the edge of both her school's bell tower and her own sanity, a well-known, supposedly troubled, bad-boy, Theodore Finch comes to her rescue. However, in order to maintain their uniquely differing reputations, Finch and Violet pretend that it was, in fact, Violet who saved Finch. As Violet is labeled a valiant hero, Finch remains the erratic, suicidal mystery. However, Finch takes advantage of this by setting Violet up in their Geography class so that they must be partners for a class project in which they are required to visit noteworthy locations in Indiana and learn more about their home state.
Through their geography project, Violet and Theodore visit various notable locations together in their home state of Indiana. They make it a point to leave something behind at every destination, as Violet eventually states, "The thing I realize is that it's not what you take, it's what you leave,"(Niven 376). This desire to wander is not only a physical one, but also one in which Finch and Violet end up utilizing in their mentality. As they both suffer greatly, and work to find ways to mend themselves.
Accidentally found, yet genuinely felt love:
Before their project, Violet was anything but attracted to Finch, nevertheless, his charming ways struck her and their passion for eachother only intensified as their final year together in high school wore on. Finch explained why this all came to be, why he chose her as his partner for their geography project, saying,
Thought of as "Embryo" by Finch, he is the counselor that sees Finch on a, mostly, daily basis, and tries, in his own way, to help Finch. Mr.Embry is a man who takes an almost fatherly figure in Finch's life, though unknowing of the whereabouts of Finch's actual father.
Josh is Theo's dad's son (may or may not be related by blood), he is much younger than Theo, but has been given much more than Theo ever was by his father. This makes Theo jealous of him, and shows that he wishes he had a real father in his life.
Amanda is mostly portrayed as a fake friend of Violet's who does everything for popularity and
Eventually known to Finch as "Ultraviolet Remarkey-able," Violet is forced to cope with the loss of her sister which has negatively impacted her in so many ways. Typically disguising this pain with a plastic smile, Violet acts normal and happy for the people around her everyday, though this only deepens the wounds that were inflicted by her sister's death.
Mr. & Mrs. Finch:
Mr.Finch is an all-around abusive father, who left Theo, his mother, and sisters around ten years ago for a nice, new wife and child. Theodore compares himself and his family to theirs often, thinking of theirs as the "new and improved and, most simply, better" family. Mrs.Finch, on the other hand, is a hardworking, single mother, who just wants the best for her children but is too much of a weary, emotional wreck, herself, to function and express this love properly. She is incapable of helping any of her children, yet becomes aware of and regrets this deeply towards the end of the novel.
Violet is a bright girl, with a knack for writing, but gives up and considers herself broken and alone until Finch enters her life and makes her remember that, through it all, there is good in life that should not be overlooked or wasted.
Kate and Decca Finch:
Younger, caring sisters of Theodore both Kate and Decca struggle with their own crises in life, though Theo constantly finds a way to remind them of their worth and reassure them that everything will be alright.
Initially wanting nothing to do with him, Violet sourly goes along with Finch in order to finish their project and be able to be done with their odd interactions. But, soon enough, she finds herself falling for him and his eccentricity. As their journey progresses, Finch and Violet confess their mutual infatuation and share their deepest thoughts. It is when Violet's parents find out the truth about Finch and his misguided ways that they are no longer allowed to see each other, so they passionately continue a secretive Romeo and Juliet romance. Yet, it is this secrecy and their complex personas that send them spiraling down back into a rough and depressing state, a state of which only one of them will survive, leaving the other at his/her originally beaten up condition.
“‘Because you smiled at me.’
‘You asked why I wanted to do this with you. It’s not because you were up on the ledge too, even though, okay, that’s part of it. It’s not because I feel this weird responsibility to keep an eye on you, which is also part of it. It’s because you smiled at me that day in class. A real smile,’” (Niven 101). This is a first look at how Finch feels toward Violet, being that it depicts how intently, not to mention dreamily, Finch looks at her.
constantly bad mouthes Finch. It is not until later in the book, when her big secret reveals her true, genuine self.
Ryan is another popular, pretty boy who is Violet's ex-boyfriend. Finch harbors some jealousy towards Ryan, but Violet shares (with Finch) a secret about Ryan that taints his flawless image.
Recognized as "Roamer," Romero is basically Finch's bully, who was once his best friend, and coined the nickname "Theodore Freak" back in middle school.
I enjoyed reading this book, as there were many aspects of it which I was not expecting. Most teen-angst related books these days are predictable, unexciting love stories about two unlikely people falling in love and living happily ever after. However, this book did not follow through with that happily ever after ending (I was not happy about that, though). I found myself reflecting on many of the topics touched on in the book as well as questioning the motives behind each character's thought process. There were, of course, predictable factors included in the storyline, but none compared to the actual depth of the characters' thinking. This story delved deeper than just any book on high school romance, and I would recommend it mainly to girls (because of this romantic aspect), but also boys who are willing to try something new.
Secrecy is discussed a lot throughout the story as multiple characters' personal secrets are revealed, most considered flaws. Although some, like Theodore, do not solely view them as flaws, or at least try not to. He states, "This is my secret—that any moment I might fly away,”(Niven 132). Theodore is the strangest of optimists, but is thoughtful with his words, as shown in this quote.
Death is a major theme of this novel as it starts and ends the storyline, yet it never disappears from the pages, either. Violet mourns the loss of her beloved sister for the entirety of the story and it is at the end when she finally confronts all her losses saying, "Just because they’re dead, they don’t have to be. And neither do we,” (Niven 361). Through it all, Violet grows from a weak willed, frightened girl, to a strong, accepting woman with nothing but passion to share.