by Jennifer Niven
Published January 6th 2015
“The great thing about this life of ours is that you can be someone different to everybody.”
I decided to pick up books that are being made into movies and this was one of them in the list and it’s starring Elle Fanning. I didn’t even read the blurb or bother finding out what the books was about and I normally do that especially if the author is new to me. Thank God I went in blind because if I had read the blurb, I would not have read it because I am trying to stay away from the heavy books at the moment. Once I figured out what it was about and that it was Young Adult, I put it down for a while but I found myself unable to move on to any other book without having finished it first.
Meet Violet and Finch. One is popular, the other is not. One is trying to blend in and the other never shies away from standing out. They are different yet alike in so many ways with both of them battling something. For Violet, it’s the loss of her sister and the survival guilt while Finch has an obsession with death and thinks of which is the better way to commit suicide. But then the two come together and are able to help each other in some ways. Violet is able to take steps towards moving from her hang ups and Finch is able to be himself instead of the freak he is thought to be.
“What a terrible feeling to love someone and not be able to help them.”
Finch has to be a character that I found it hard to understand but at some point I got why. He is meant to be like that and making him understandable will not portray his character in the light he should be. He is suffering and is and is not aware of it, he knows there is something wrong but cannot deal with it on his own. But his thoughts and what he says are opposite from what he is suffering from. I think author did his character justice by letting him be the way he was. I must admit that by the end of it, I had so many unanswered questions.
What pissed me off about his whole situation was his family, WTF!? I mean I get that you can be too caught up in your issues but for the mother and father to act so blasé over his condition, argh! Made me so mad! I honestly don’t think that’s something normal because most parents are on top of what their teenagers are doing but then again there are all these stories you see on the news about neglect. Anyway, it was important for the story line and it had to stick.
“Disguise the pain. Don’t call attention. Don’t be noticed.”
The whole suicide topic is treated as some form of comedy in the school and it’s a reality amongst some people. I know in Kenya these are things that are swept under the rug and people never want to talk about them. Depression is considered ‘shida ya mzungu’ (a white people problem) and is rarely dealt with in the right way. My uncle committed suicide but I don’t think we have ever sat down and talked about it or tried to understand what made him do it. He died, was buried and that was it. The church even refused to do the burial service. I found out years later what had happened to him because no one ever talked about it. So it is easy to act like it is not a big issue and that those who do it are to blame. And I just found out when I brought up this book to my mum that another one of my uncle’s might have also committed suicide in what we thought was an accident. It’s a scary thought knowing that this has happened in the family but NO ONE wants to talk about it. We brush over it. And my mum said she doesn’t know why either but she is the one who normally keeps in the loop when it comes to the hard topics. But what we forget is that some people are suffering and cannot comprehend the wrongness in finding an escape. Psychological issues grow to be bigger than the person and they find it hard to save themselves from it all.
I am one of the people who look at suicide as a selfish act. Taking your life away because you cannot deal? Selfish. Leaving people behind to mourn you? Selfish. Leaving people behind feeling guilty that they couldn’t have helped you? Selfish. But what about those people who are mentally sick? What about the people who do not get any help when they desperately need the help? The circumstances are not always the same. There are those who do it knowingly because they don’t care but then there are those who just cannot help themselves. This topic on suicide is both subjective and relies heavily on the perspective we have.
“Because in this house there’s no such thing as being sick unless you can measure it with a thermometer under the tongue.”
From the blurb, you will see that it has The Fault in our Stars vibe together with Eleanor & Park which I am yet to read. Obviously I didn’t know this when I was going in but there were parts that I could feel some John Green influence but not a lot of it. In general, I don’t think they are alike in many ways and to dismiss it because of that is just ridiculous. I get it that some people did not like The Fault in our Stars but it was discussing something fundamental and so is this book. What could have greatly improved the book would have been building the secondary characters a bit more. They were mostly forgettable and I mostly didn’t like them by the end of the book when they came up. They felt more like fillers who needed to be there to add on to Violet and Finch. LOL, but that’s what secondary characters do. You get the point hopefully. That almost made me lower my rating but I loved it enough to still give it a 5 Star rating.
I am going to force my small sister to read this even though I know she doesn’t like the sad books but I she didn’t hate Me Before You when I made her read it. Or her friend made her read it? Or the trailer? I like to think it was me.
Pick this one up if you are ready to cry. I cried and stared at a wall when I was done with book.
If you are in Kenya, you can get it here.
“I know there’s more in there, probably years of shit you’ve been smiling away and keeping down.”