“All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven – Book Review

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“We are all alone, trapped in these bodies and our own minds, and whatever company we have in this life is only fleeting and superficial.”
Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places

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I’ve just finished this book. And I feel like my coherence has slipped away at some point, in the process of taking in things , of analyzing them.

This is a spoiler-free review, a short and full of rambling one. This fact doesn’t stop me,tho, from talking about the final part. I saw it coming, I expected it, I would have been deeply disappointed if it hadn’t gone this way, but it shattered my very cold heart. I shed a tear and screamed internally and I currently have the very strong urge of saying everybody I know and I love that they count and have a place in this world and life is fine. Life can get fine. I feel like sending virtual hugs to the whole planet.
Is this book full of cliches? It is. I mean, for God’s sake, Theodore is this gorgeous, blue-eyed, tall, lean, muscular, full of culture, playing the guitar, writing songs, quoting Virginia Woolf extensively type of guy who also matters to be on the point of getting expelled and also happens to be obsessed with death ( I can make a whole PowerPoint presentation with interesting facts about death and suicide and the most accurate methods to end your life only using quotes from this book, who also has a troubled family history and parents that failed very hard at parenting.
Violet has just lost her bigger sister, aspires to become a writer, is an ex-cheerleader, friends with the most popular people in school, ex-girlfriend of the baseball prodigy, owner of an online magazine that mostly focuses on nail polish and the right shade of blush and , on top of it all, is one of the prettiest girls in school.
Cliche? Yes, I suppose.

“I am on the highest branch.
We are written in paint.
I believe in signs.
The glow of Ultraviolet.
A lake. A prayer. It’s so lovely to be lovely in Private.”

But nice ones, familiar ones, intelligently used ones. Beautifully written ones.
The whole book is written beautifully, swiftly, coherently. Sincerely.
It took me three tries and a huge amount of determination to get past the first 10%. Because it didn’t seem like something to use my time on. But I believe it was worth it, at least to me, as I am the type of person that greatly enjoys stories that involve mental illnesses. This book deals with suicide and being bipolar in a graceful and poetical way, not failing to give a distinct warning and to make one understand how precious and valuable life is, how small things matter.

I usually try to keep very calm while reading such things ( still having my internal fights about the quality of the literature I read and still struggling with trying to leave YA – especially  contemporary romance – behind and move to better and revelation filled books)  because I am this type of weird hipsteresque attitude regarding culture. This was hyped and romance. ” Not my thing”, I thought.
But I  figured I might be the person that needs some sort of an inspirational  romantic pseudo – deep story once in a couple of years. It was “The Fault In Our Stars” back in the winter of 2013 that, as basic as it sounds, made me rethink things. Didn’t blow me away, but made me appreciate stuff more.
“All the Bright Places” may or may not have the same effect. It is raw and sort of edgy, but if sticks a Post-It to you brain.
A Post-It on which it’s written

“APPRECIATE IT”.
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On life and not completely understood rebellions

I’m going to start this off by saying that people in Romania have started protesting. Massively. All over the country.

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Almost 30 000 people on the 4th of November, Bucharest

Even in my “nothing ever happens” town. Students march. Things have started moving. And I am excited. Because it feels and smells like change. Because the government has resigned. Because people have understood that corruption kills. Because the flames of that club have surrounded the whole Romania. And, as cheesy as it sounds, it will be reborn out of its own ashes. Phoenix-like. I hope, God how I hope that things are going to get better.image-2015-11-4-20554874-0-protest-memoria-victimelor-clubul-colectiv

In honor of this and because of my great excitement and because I love words and quotes and all of it, here are some of my favorite quotes about deep things. In no particular order, mainly focused on freedom of thought and social issues. A post full of beautiful words and exuberant phrases and the idolization of beauty shall be written another time.

“THEY TRIED TO BURY US, THEY DIDN’T KNOW WE WERE SEEDS.” – Mexican proverb art-by-dan-elijah-g-fajardo

I first read this on a Mexican protester’s poster. Kept it in mind ever since.

”War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”

George Orwell, “1984”

“Let her sleep

For when she wakes,

She will move mountains.”

Napoleon Bonaparte ( I know no context for this one, but I love it greatly)

“I let go. Lost in oblivion. Dark and silent and complete. I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom.”
This is all, I think. I’ll write a 7 list thing tomorrow, I hope.
By the way, I’m in with the NaNoWriMo. I think. But I didn’t really write anything yet, so I need to keep up.

Not Properly Counted Books and Bookish Thigs about Death

Hello, how are you, I hope your week has been good and your life fine and your autumn pretty and I hope you love Novembers as much as I do.

I hope no tragedies happened around your house, your garden, your mind palace, your sweaty palms, your not empty, but kind hearts. I hope people didn’t burn, fireworks eating away their souls.

I’m full of tragedy saying this and maybe you will find me pathetic and unnecessarily hypocritical, but a tragedy happened in the past week around my house. Around my garden. Around my fields. Around my autumn. Around my last days of October.

I’m fine, thanks. Nothing happened to me, maybe because I’m well guarded. Maybe because I’m not significant enough. But other people aren’t anymore.

No, I didn’t forget the word “fine”. They simply aren’t. They are gone. Vanished. Sudden combustion. And I didn’t know any of them. And it happened in the capital, not in my small town where nothing ever happens. And I’m so sad.

And so furious, DAMN I AM FURIOUS SO SO SO FURIOUS.

They were all young, you know. A rock concert in a way too small club. Fireworks stupidly put inside and everything went crazy. They burnt. 150 or so are in hospitals as I’m writing this. 33 aren’t anymore.

And people dare say they deserved it. People dare say it was the way God did His justice. People say they were satanists and they were peculiar and they died in an inferno because they were not pure.

And I stay here wondering if I got transported back to the Middle Ages.

Because, damn it, I don’t know how you can transform a type of culture into a sin.

HOW DARE YOU SAY, STUPID MIDDLE AGED WOMAN, THAT A 20 YEAR OLD STUCK IN THE FLAMES DESERVED HIS DEATH BECAUSE HE USED TO WEAR BLACK AND COMBAT BOOTS AND HIS HAIR A LITTLE BIT TOO LONG FOR YOUR CONSERVATIVE STANDARDS?

How dare you.

It is sad, really. Very sad and even more terrifying  is how some have the impulse to transform it into a joke. How my Facebook newsfeed is improbably full with messages full of hatred and grammar mistakes. How people on TV BLAME ANYTHING BUT the things that deserve to be blamed – the system, the fact that such a risky business was run in the middle of the biggest Romanian city.

I am not writing here to blame anybody.

You probably don’t care, either way.

I just needed to talk to somebody and get out the frustration. My little secret rebellion, painted here in black for all those people. I’m not going to say they were beautiful or the hope of the new generation, I’m not going to say ( as everyone seems to do around me, making me shiver) that they were flowers that were not meant to bloom. I refuse to say that it was God’s message, because God is, as far as I can tell, confused as I am and uncertain about life as I am, God is all about f o r g i v e n e s s. So I pray for them. For all those 150 stuck on a hospital bed now, fighting. For the ones that aren’t anymore, the ones that went with the wind it this world. I’m thinking of you, even if I don’t know you.

So. I thought, because I am in such a dark mood these days and because I feel comfortable with sadness and all , my third 7 Books and Bookish Things list – not posted on Sunday, but posted, and that is something – is to be about death. I read quite some books about death. So I shall list some – not because they are good, not because they made me cry or anything, not because the writer does and admirable job of making the sadness readable and touchable. None of those.

They simply focus on the complex and beautiful and endearing topic of death. Not going to write much about them, tho, because I don’t have the time and I am terribly sad.

1. “Love Letters To The Dead” by Ava Dellaira 

This one is sort of peculiar, mainly because it is so so so similar to “The Perks Of Being  A Wallflower”. But it is very sad, and sort of touching and sort of incredibly pathetic. Read it last summer and didn’t have the power to cry. I just stood there, Kindle in my hand, sun rising outside my window, after 5 hours of shivering and crawling in my bed, hollowed. Damn, it was not that good. It simply was so, so sad. And sort of puerile. And cliche on a very profound level. Still sad,tho, and still about death, so it fits in here.

“What I told you about saving people isn’t true. You might think it is, because you might want someone else to save you, or you might want to save someone so badly. But no one else can save you, not really. Not from yourself. […] You fall asleep in the foothills, and the wolf comes down from the mountains. And you hope someone will wake you up. Or chase it off. Or shoot it dead. But when you realize that the wolf is inside you, that’s when you know. You can’t run from it. And no one who loves you can kill the wolf, because it’s part of you. They see your face on it. And they won’t fire the shot.”

2.”I Was Here” by Gayle Forman 

I’m pretty sure you all heard of this one. Hyped, wasn’t it? It made some very valid points of death, you know, and some even more interesting on suicide, making me shiver. Because they made all the sense in this world, if you ask me. They were right in their very twisted way. What fundamentally bothered me, tho, and this is not the first time somebody says it, wad the love story, that was even more morally twisted than all those long pages about deciding for yourself ans suicide and all. I end up not liking this book, not really, despite the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed the family part and the descriptions of ordinary American life and its hardships. Pretty good from this point of view, if I give it a second thought. But it had macabre parts and dark themes, so it shall have its spot.

“I was reminded just why God wants us to forgive. Not simply because it’s the key to a better world, but because of what it does for ourselves. Forgiveness is God’s gift to us. Christ forgave us. He forgave our sins. That was his gift. But by allowing us to forgive each other, he opened us up to that divine love. The article had it right. Forgiveness: It’s a miracle drug. It’s God’s miracle drug.”

3.“My Heart And Other Black Holes” by Jasmine Warga

This is a book about two kids that want to commit suicide so badly, they decide to find partners that shall take care of the thing actually happening. So they find each other. And, o f  c o u r s e, they sorta fall in love with life and each other. It was kind of cute, but, I might be a little bit macabre right now, but how I wish they actually died. It would have been nice tragedy. It is full of pretty things, but too full of hope for a thing called “My Heart And Other Black Holes”.

“Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood.”

4.” Me, Earl and The Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews

This one was so fun to read. It legitimately was funny. Made me snort. It also had bad jokes. Made me roll my eyes. Didn’t make me sad because of the death that occurred , but rather because of the failed lives and the sad social picture. As cliche as it sounds, it was about the death of not so physical things. Nice, but kinda bad.

“There was just something about her dying that I had understood but not really understood, if you know what I mean. I mean, you can know someone is dying on an intellectual level, but emotionally it hasn’t really hit you, and then when it does, that’s when you feel like shit.”

I think I have more to write about. I don’t feel like it. No. Also, I think I could call all of the above under-hyped – you might have noticed already, but no “The Fault In Our Stars”, “Looking for Alaska” or “If I stay” here. I read those as well and I certainly liked them then, but I feel like I have nothing new to say about them.

Honorable mentions, more notorious and high quality literature in which death passes by – “Dead Poets Society” by N. Kleinbaum, “Anna Karenina” by Lev Tolstoi, “Lord of the Flies” by William Holding, “Little Bijou” by Patrick Modiano and “Harry Potter” by JK Rowling, of course. Harry Potter is all about death.

One last bookish thing, tho, I don’t know it’s number, but I know it is there, near black transitions from form to form – candles and flowers.

Candles and flowers for all.