As you all know, I’m not one for book adapted films. Some are amazing, but the majority are just absolutely terrible. I always say I am not watching certain ones when they are released if I am a fan or advocate of the book. And I usually don’t. I fucked up big style yesterday though.
I was bored and I’m not much of a TV watcher, but I was in the mood and Netflix was my go-to. First, there in my recommendations was of course All The Bright Places. It was released via Netflix on February 28th 2020 starring Elle Fanning and Justice Smith. So, I put it on. I know, I’m stupid, but it was a long time since I’d read the book and I thought they can’t ruin this one. It’s too in-depth and needed in YA life that it can’t be bad. It was. It was worse.
Here is what I wrote when I was watching it: (Just from my notes)
If I didn’t know the characters so well from the book I would not know what was going on.
I understand films need to get the story told quickly, but to lose the relationship build up, the intensity of Finch’s mental health and its effects. The friendship and quotes that have been taken because they became so well-known from the book and just thrown in become worthless.
My heart hurts because I know already. If I didn’t know, I would not be watching and would have already have switched it off.
The book is incredibly deep, thoughtful and needed. The film to me has taken all that away.
The book is needed for this story 100%
The film took half of Finch and his story away from us.
It took half of his heart and for that I am livid.
If I was rating/reviewing it would defo be a 2/5.
So as you can see from that it wasn’t the best for me. I will say though that I did enjoy it, but like my notes state I think it’s only because my connections I already had with the characters. I honestly think I would have been confused others wise.
Anyway, let me take you back to 2014 for a minute, to when a proof of All The Bright Places landed in my hands. I was new to the YA Genre at this point. And I was obviously a bit skeptical being a 30odd year old mum, but I flicked through the first few pages like I would do any book that comes through my door. I honestly, no lie devoured it. It was the first ever book to make me cry, like proper cry though. I do not cry. It hurt me so deep. I was honestly blown away.
Here’s my review from 2015:
If there is ever a book in which the whole world should be reading it is this one. This is a book so delicate and strong is leaves you breathless, heartbroken, but somehow stronger.
The plot is a thick, twisting tale that follows 17 year old Theodore Finch, a boy with only a few friends and dubbed the school freak, who is trapped in his own head after a lifetime of troubles. And, 17 year old Violet Markey, a popular girl who is now lost in herself after the death of her sister Eleanor.
When Finch and Eleanor meet in the school watch tower, something miraculous happens to them both. After this, they are assigned partners in a geography project in which they have to go and look at the offerings their town and surrounding area’s offer. This here is the start of Finch and Violet.
There are no words for me to try and write a review for this book. None of them would be anywhere near good enough for it. I seriously could not write anything that would do this book justice. I have never, and most probably will not, ever read anything so intense, heartbreaking, lovely, romantic and real again. It’s magically breathtaking.
It has a firm focus on the stigma that unfortunately still surrounds mental health today. It also shows just how damaging it can be. This has all been dealt with by author Jennifer Niven with nothing but grace and compassion. She has shown herself to be a clever and meticulous writer, with a huge heart, and a way with words that transforms even the dark and dreary in to light and love. As a debut novel it does not get better than this. I urge you all to read it.
It’s honestly hard to describe the ineffable love I actually have for this book.
YA book of 2015? I think so.
So as you can see from that it was something special and something I pushed as hard as I can. I even got a beautiful message from Jennifer Niven too 😋
Anyway, the point of my post? Go buy the books. Always read the books. Your imagination and the words from the authors are meant to be. There is no other way of getting these stories across properly. You lose so much in a film and sometimes like this one it takes away hugely. Also, to push once again this incredible book. I have my copy out ready to read again, it won’t be today, I need time for the film to leave my mind. It’s there though and if you haven’t read this book I really do think you should.
Blurb: A compelling and beautiful story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who wants to die.Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her 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, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. 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. How far will Violet go to save the boy she has come to love?
Links to buy:
Title: All The Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Genre: YA & Teens
Length: 432 pages
Publication Date: 8th January 2015
Jennifer Niven is the author of the New York Times and international bestsellers All the Bright Places and Holding Up the Universe. Her books have been translated into 75 languages and have won literary awards around the world. She grew up in Indiana and now divides her time between Georgia and Los Angeles.
Find her at jenniferniven.com and on her social media accounts linked below: