Welcome back to the blog!
Hope you are enjoying the challenge so far! I (Adriana G.) am back again for another post about a boy named Theodore Finch from Jennifer Niven’s All The Bright Places.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD REGARDING ATBP
As I was thinking about what exactly I was going to write in this post, the question: “How is Theodore Finch considered a hero?” popped in my head and I had a few ideas but no solid description or way to answer my own question. So I then decided to ask other readers of Niven’s beautiful masterpiece what they thought.
Theodore Finch is a character who stole my heart within reading a couple pages of All The Bright Places (ATBP). I still don’t know if I love him because he is a unique kind of character I’ve never seen before in YA novels or if because I see so much of ME in him. His struggle and want to fit it, his battles raging in his mind constantly. So much of Finch I saw reflected in me. But still that wasn’t answer to my question. That didn’t answer how he was a hero.
Upon discussion with a couple of my friends and some people I literally just met on Twitter by asking the question, Rebecca Waddell answered the question perfectly. This is what she said:
“In a lot of ways, he was brave to keep trying to find a place in a world he didn’t fit in. He kept trying to reinvent himself into the person who he thought people wanted him to be, but that didn’t change who he was inside. And he stood up to his dad and did all he could to protect his sisters when he was in total crisis. He’s a subtle hero. The kind who leaves a huge impact crater on only a few people, but that mark explodes in a million ways after he’s gone.”
I honestly couldn’t have said it better myself.
Andrea Salvador (A gal I know through the Go Teen Writer’s Facebook Group) said this about Finch: ” He’s considered a hero because he helped Violet live. When she was in the darkest parts of her life, he pulled her along to his craziness and helped her understand herself and get back to where she was before her sister’s death. I know people could consider him a coward because of what he did to himself, but he was able to give life to one person and make himself happy for even those fleeting moments before he died.”
And that’s just exactly it. This book follows Violet (a sufferer of Depression) and Theodore Finch (sufferer of Depression and Suicide) and really its a truthful, and raw experience to be able to see the world from the eyes of these broken and sad characters and to see that mental health isn’t a sign of weakness but of strength because every day you keep on going even when you feel like giving up you are STRONG.
But here is the thing. Yes, Finch saved Violet…but who saved Finch? He needed the saving too. So why wasn’t he saved? For that, I don’t really have an answer. But I do have an answer that pretty much contradicts what was quoted above…but it also goes with it. (Say what?!??)
Yes, Finch was a hero because he saved Violet and helped her find meaning in life again. Helped her live. But he took a cowards way out. I myself have mulled over taking that way out many times at low or dark times in my life and I have lost a friend to suicide and nearly lost two others. Its a scary scary place to be at the time and upon reflection but despite many peoples arguments. Its a cowards way out. My friend Natalie allowed me to quote her on this and it couldn’t be more true.
“I guess that honestly to me there isn’t a way he can be considered a hero.This is from someone who has been there so please don’t take it as judgmental but it’s the coward’s way out. It scars people and ruins their friends’ and family’s lives. The fact is, you can help yourself. You can call a suicide hotline and tell them you’re going to kill yourself and you’ll get put in a mental hospital. I know people it’s happened to. But it saves everyone from the guilt and the hurt. There’s always options. There’s ALWAYS someone to tell and there are drugs and therapy that with time will save you. Someone I trusted tried to kill themselves and the blame got put on me by myself and I still sometimes have panic attacks over it. I remember bawling in my school bathroom over a kid who killed himself. I remember seeing my family 7 days after I almost killed myself and thinking, “wow. I would’ve ruined their lives.” I really feel like it was the most selfish time in my life. No, getting help isn’t fun but if you can’t sacrifice that for people who love you more than anything you are not a hero..“
I’m not entirely sure how to end this post as I mainly wanted to post those things other readers of All The Bright Places have shared with me and a few of my thoughts. BUT I feel this is important. Because Mental Health/Suicide/Depression is something that needs to be spoken about.
- I am NOT in any way saying that committing suicide is something that makes you a hero or is heroic.
- If you are having suicidal thoughts please talk to someone. Whether its a family member, friend, or someone you speak to by calling this number: