emmaloui.se

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. - Jane Austen

Jennifer Niven – All the Bright Places

Posted on

I don’t know if I even have the words within me to describe how beautifully this book was written, and how much it left my emotions tied in knots after being repeatedly wrung through a wringer.

Finch and Violet meet at the top of the school bell tower, both perilously close to the edge, both physically and mentally. And after Finch talks Violet down from the railings, it seems like he might be her lifeline and the only one capable of bringing her back to (relative) normality.

You see, Violet’s sister Eleanor was recently killed in a car crash, an accident that Violet feels responsible for, and ever since then, it’s like she’s been living in a black hole. And if anyone knows about black holes, it’s Finch. Unwilling to accept a label for his mental health problems (since everyone knows what happens when you get a label), he teeters wildly on the edge of a cliff, waiting to fall at any time.

It seems like they each may have found the perfect person to help with their problems and enable them to move forward, even though Violet may need a bit of persuading that Finch isn’t completely insane.

I don’t want to go any further into the plot from here as I don’t think I can without risking any major spoilers, but let’s just say the ending wasn’t quite what I expected.

Kudos to Niven for being able to write the book in such a way that I wasn’t able to predict the future of either character. And major kudos to Niven for tackling such sensitive subjects with tact and care. It’s obvious that Niven has taken the time to make sure she doesn’t just run to the typical stereotypes of the mental health problems dealt with, and the characters are first and foremost human, not just a caricature of a problem.

If I could read this book again straight away, I would, but this time I’d read it so much more slowly and luxuriate in Finch and Violet’s wanderings around Indiana and their blossoming relationship.

Captivating and beautiful, I can see why the Guardian review snippet on the cover calls it ‘the next Fault in Our Stars’.

Review: Paulo Coelho – Veronika Decides to Die

Posted on

veronika-decides-to-die-paulo-coelhoThis is a pretty delayed review because I’ve been quite busy this week (including seeing the Blues Brothers at the cinema for the first time on Thursday and seeing the Olympic Torch in Huddersfield this afternoon), so I’m still slipping further and further behind on my reading challenge. Lacking a bit of motivation at the moment I think…

But onto the review: I don’t really know how to write it without completely spoiling the book for anyone else that wants to read it, but I’ll give it a try.

The book is about a young woman called Veronika who decides to commit suicide. (Un)fortunately, she doesn’t succeed and ends up in a psychiatric hospital called Villette. Even though she doesn’t succeed with her suicide attempt, she finds out that she made a good enough attempt at it to give herself only a few days to live.

However, while she’s in the hospital she meets a few people who have been classed as ‘insane’, but when she learns their stories, she realises they’re not mad at all, and that she’s missed out on a lot of experiences and things she should have done in her life. Of course by this time it is too late, but by listening and talking to these strangers, she ends up helping them to get over the problems they’ve been having and help them to leave the hospital.

Because she has nothing left to lose, she is willing to try more things and to experience new relationships and emotions. There’s a huge twist in the last 2 pages of the book, which bring the book to an amazing ending, but I won’t say any more about that because it really will spoil the book for you if you decide to read it. I think the main message of the book was really that sanity only means that we’re all mad in the same way, so is anyone really mad?

4-5

I’ve been reading The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks for the last day or so, and enjoying it so far. I think this week is going to be less busy than the last, so I’ll have some more time to just chill out and read.