All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

This book was not on my 2019 reading list but I read a review and knew that I needed to read it ASAP. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is one of those books that makes you believe in love and happiness but also allows you to experience heartbreak that feels so real and raw. By the end of the book I was crying and felt like my heart was in one thousand little pieces but in a good way. Sometimes we need to be reminded that it’s okay to feel all of the emotions at once.

But the main reason why I loved this book was because of the message. Reading through Finch and Violet’s day-to-day struggles with mental illness is SO important. Understanding is important. In the book they talk about how no one brings flowers to funerals and no one bakes casseroles for the family of suicide victims. That suicide is selfish. But it’s not and this book will explain why.

Summary

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death. Every day he thinks of ways he might kill himself, but every day he also searches for—and manages to find—something to keep him here, and alive, and awake.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her small Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school—six stories above the ground— it’s unclear who saves whom. Soon it’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. . . .

Review

This may actually be the best written book that I have ever read. I finished it about two weeks ago and still think about Finch and Violet daily.

I felt everything as it was happening and it took me back to moments in my life and made me realize that maybe I didn’t grieve as thoroughly as I thought I did. A couple of years ago I lost someone close to me who died in a “selfish” way. People tried to understand but they really couldn’t and it was devastating. I don’t think there will ever be a point in time where a book about mental illness and suicide is no longer relevant and important. It’s a hard read but incredibly important.

When we first meet Violet she is struggling to grieve for her sister who died in a car accident. Finch is all over the place with his mood when he sees Violet on the bell tower. They are both thinking about jumping and that day Finch saves Violet’s life and she gives him something to live for.

This book follows their friendship and eventual romance. It’s cute and fluffy with a side of seriousness. I love that the chapters switch back and forth between Finch and Violet’s point of view and I enjoyed being able to read both sides of the story. Finch’s chapters were really informative especially when you later hear the probable diagnosis from his school counselor.

The ending of the book is bittersweet and I actually did not see it coming. I really don’t want to give anything away so I won’t say much about it but these things happen in real life. It’s scary and crazy and it feels like there isn’t anything we can do about it. What I love most about this book is that Jennifer Niven brings to light all of the things we feel we can’t talk about when it comes to suicide and mental illness. Not only does she talk about it, she also gives resources for readers who feel similar to Finch and Violet.

Favorite Quotes

“You are all the colors in one, at full brightness.”

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”

“You make me lovely, and it’s so lovely to be lovely to the one I love.…”

“You have been in every way all that anyone could be.… If anybody could have saved me it would have been you.”

“No more winter at all. Finch, you brought me spring.”

“What if life could be this way? Only the happy parts, none of the terrible, not even the mildly unpleasant. What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good? This is what I want to do with Violet – give her only the good, keep away the bad, so that good is all we ever have around us.”

“Listen, I’m the freak. I’m the weirdo. I’m the troublemaker. I start fights. I let people down. Don’t make Finch mad, whatever you do. Oh, there he goes again, in one of his moods. Moody Finch. Angry Finch. Unpredictable Finch. Crazy Finch. But I’m not a compilation of symptoms. Not a casualty of shitty parents and an even shittier chemical makeup. Not a problem. Not a diagnosis. Not an illness. Not something to be rescued. I’m a person.”

“You saved my life. Why couldn’t I save yours?”

“I was here. TF.”

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Once again, this book is incredible. It’s raw, powerful, and extremely informative. I pride myself in being empathetic to others in situations very different from my own. Gaining perspective from All The Bright Places has helped me become more understanding, especially towards survivors of suicide. I would 150% recommend adding this to your reading list.

Apparently All The Bright Places is being turned into a movie in 2019! I’m looking forward to the day that I can watch Violet and Finch’s stories come to life. Also, it’s being directed by Brett Haley which is pretty much the most perfect name.

Have you read a book lately this you just can’t stop thinking about?

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The Importance of Practicing Self-Care

The Importance of Practicing Self-Care
Hello, my friends!

I have spent the past few weekends learning how to practice self-care. I have never given myself enough time to truly focus on making myself happy. I am always in a rush and when I do have any down time I like to spend it reading or relaxing on the couch. Relaxing is important but I never felt better afterward.

In one of my last posts I talked about my weight gain. What I didn’t really mention were all of the negative things that I brought upon myself because of the weight gain. I hated the way that I looked and the way my clothes fit. I thought punishing myself by squeezing into my old clothes would motivate me to lose weight. Instead I just felt terrible all of the time. My confidence, especially at work, was at an all time low.

A couple of weekends ago I finally had had enough. My mom, sister, and I drove to the outlet mall and I bought all new work pants and jeans. I had no idea how much of an impact those purchases would have on my self esteem. It felt good to not look like I was squished into my pants. I wouldn’t say I felt confident but I did feel better.

The next weekend I decided to spend an hour getting my haircut and eyebrows waxed. It felt so good. I have such thick hair and it grows at such a fast pace. I usually only get my haircut every six months but it was making me unhappy so I decided to change it. You still won’t catch me styling it in any way but at least I can brush it!

Spending a little time on self care is SO important and I am just now realizing that. I have never ever made the time to put myself first. I deserve to be happy and shouldn’t punish myself for the fact that I’ve gained weight.

Do you have any tips for practicing self-care? I’d love to hear them!

 

Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

 

Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash

Things That Make Me Happy

Things That Make Me Happy
Hellllloooo!

Life of Hayley has been a little depressing as of late. I was talking to my husband, Brett, the other night and he said I should make a list of the things that make me happy so when I’m down I can read the list. So here goes nothing!

By the way, this list is not in any kind of order.

  • Our cat, Lucy
  • Summer nights by the bonfire
  • Hanging out with Brett
  • Being at the Lake surrounded by family
  • My parent’s dog, Megan
  • Shopping with my mom and sister
  • British candy
  • Road trips
  • A clean car
  • Freshly baked cookies
  • A completed to-do list
  • Sunday afternoon naps
  • Getting a good deal (on anything)
  • Summer in Michigan
  • My grandma’s banana bread and zucchini cake
  • Traveling (especially around Europe)
  • A good ol’ cup of tea
  • Reading before bed
  • Helping someone when they need it
  • Writing (this blog, a book, who knows?)
  • Boat rides
  • Walking the dog
  • Toddlers
  • Nice people
  • An unexpected “Thank You”
  • Weddings
  • A clean house
  • Fresh sheets
  • Weekends
  • New skin care
  • A full tank of gas
  • Clothes that I feel comfortable in
  • An empty e-mail inbox
  • Coke Slushies
  • FroYo
  • Putting my pajamas on after work
  • Christmas Eve
  • Fireworks
  • Summer car rides with music blaring
  • Home
  • Ikea
  • Reading book reviews
  • Brunch
  • Fresh flowers
  • London, England
  • Our wedding video
  • Collecting vintage tea cups
  • Harry Potter!
  • Art Shows
  • People watching
  • Puppies
  • Trader Joe’s
  • 90’s music
  • Sunflowers
  • Sour candy
  • Friends
  • Going to the beach
  • Camping

That was easier than I thought it would be! I could go on and on but I won’t bore you with the details. Making a list of my favorite things actually did make me feel so much better! Next time I’m feeling down I will come back and read through this to remember my happiness.

And as the saying goes – “It’s a bad day, not a bad life”

Thanks for reading! What are your favorite things?

 
Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

 

Photo by Aleksandr Eremin on Unsplash