All the Bright Places | Study Guide

Jennifer Niven

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All the Bright Places | Part 1, Chapters 12–14 | Summary



Part 1, Chapter 12: FINCH The night of the day my life changed

Dinner at the Finch household has Theodore Finch telling his mother what he learned today day is that "there is good in this world," and a small hill can feel high if "you're standing next to the right person." His mother is perplexed but nice. He offers to do the dishes, and she is grateful, pausing only to ask if he had called her "Mum." Afterward, Finch is about to go for a run, but it looks like "cold, blinding sleet." He takes a bath instead. Finch notes that water is soothing, and "everything slows down—the noise and the racing of my thoughts." He holds his breath and submerges. He holds his breath until his lungs burn, and then he surfaces, coughing.

Part 1, Chapter 13: VIOLET 148 days till graduation

The gossip magazine at the high school named the "top ten suicidal students." Finch is the first on the list. The school newspaper lists resources for suicidal teens. In U.S. Geography Violet's ex-boyfriend, Ryan Cross, asks her out. Finch shows up and gives the teacher an apple and Violet a rock that says "your turn" on the bottom. Ryan acts jealous, and Violet confronts him about it.

Part 1, Chapter 14: FINCH Day 13

Finch goes to Violet's house and throws rocks at her window. She doesn't respond. He makes a list: "How to Stay Awake." The list is not about sleep in the sense of nightly routine, but "staying up and staying here for the long haul." There are 10 items on it, including run, write, plan, and "surround myself with water." The last item on the list is "Violet."


Theodore Finch is self-treating his disorder. He's found routines that help—water, exercise, and exploration. However, even as he goes through his routines, he's thinking about suicide. Water is a solution as well as a possible way to die. (It is how he dies, eventually.) "Mood charting" is one of the things patients with bipolar disorder may do as part of their treatment plan. Routines, which in Finch's case include things like Mrs. Finch's nightly conversation and asking about school, also have been useful for patients.

What Finch lacks here are the other integral aspects of treatment. He has no medication, and according to the Mayo Clinic, "bipolar disorder requires lifelong treatment with medications, even during periods when [patients] feel better." Finch needs to be assessed and prescribed medication to stabilize his moods. Even if he were to get his moods steady, "people who skip maintenance treatment are at high risk of a relapse of symptoms or having minor mood changes turn into full-blown mania or depression."

Patients with bipolar disorder may take a combination of mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications. The mood stabilizer are used to control the manic parts of the disorder. Antidepressants, to control the depression, can trigger mania, so those are prescribed in conjunction with antipsychotics. A fourth type of medication, anti-anxiety pills, can be added as needed for a short-term period. Finch takes none of these, and while his attempts to manage his moods through his habits and routine are a good part of a plan, they do not replace the chemical components.

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