All the Bright Places | Study Guide

Jennifer Niven

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All the Bright Places | Part 2, Chapters 27–29 | Summary

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Summary

Part 2, Chapter 27: VIOLET Saturday

Violet wakes to find Finch having breakfast with her parents. Finch has already explained to them that Violet's cutting class is all his fault, and consequently, her father tells her she can still work on the project. However, when her father asks about Finch's father, Finch lies. He is truthful about his mother. They also discuss the "Wander Indiana" project, and Violet's parents ask Finch to call them by their first names. Afterward Violet is angry and asks, "Why did you do that? Lie to my parents?" Finch tries to explain, "It's not a lie if it's how you feel."

Part 2, Chapter 28: FINCH Day 28

Finch and Violet go to visit John Ivers, a grandfather who has built two roller coasters in his backyard. Finch rides the first roller coaster, the Blue Flash, six times before Violet will try it. Then they both ride the roller coasters repeatedly. Finch thinks that although he'll have to go to his father's house the next day, he is still happy because he is with Violet today. After they leave they discuss the fact that, technically, this is their "last wandering," but Finch suggests they find a "backup place," using doing well on the project as an excuse. Violet makes notes about the roller coaster wandering as Finch drives. They flirt along the way, and Finch suddenly exits the main road and drives to the first parking lot he sees. He stops the car, runs around to the passenger side, and pulls Violet out of the car. Then he kisses her for the first time. They maneuver into the backseat of the car. When Finch realizes Violet's a virgin, he stops and says, "Someday, Ultraviolet."

At home Finch writes about a Euthanasia Coaster, which "doesn't actually exist." The next thing he realizes is that a "strange fold in time" happened, and now he's running. He has run all the way to Centerville, the next town over. It occurs to him that, for the first time, he doesn't "want to be anyone but Theodore Finch, the boy she sees." Finch wants his epitaph to be "The Boy Violet Markey Loves."

Part 2, Chapter 29: FINCH Day 30 (I am AWAKE)

Finch is in gym class with his friend Charlie Donahue, who asks if it's true that Finch "almost drowned Roamer," and they discuss Violet Markey. When Roamer is up to bat, Charlie catches the ball, knowing it will infuriate Roamer and Mr. Kappel, the baseball coach, because Charlie, who is good at baseball, will not play on the team. In the locker room Roamer attacks Finch, but Finch does not defend himself. Mr. Kappel arrives and intervenes. Finch stops at his locker and notices there is a rock on top of his books. He flips it over and sees that it is the same rock he had given to Violet because it says "Your turn" on it. Finch's friend Brenda Shank-Kravitz stops by Finch's locker and they chit-chat, but Finch is thinking about "Violet Markey, lock picker."

Analysis

The focus on Finch's manic onset is less overt in these chapters. He has lost time, which is indicative of the severity of the problem: there was a "strange fold in time." The conversation he has with Violet Markey's parents and his own muddled defense of it when she gets upset over his lies also shows he is struggling.

The reader might do well to remember that while the novel makes clear that Finch is facing a mental illness, those around him don't have access to the full picture. He hides things. The reader knows Finch has a vast majority of the symptoms of bipolar disorder, but taken individually, a person—be it friend, family member, teacher, classmate, or girlfriend—could think the symptoms they are seeing are "acting out" or hormones or reacting the way a lot of people wish they could when they are bullied incessantly. The heightened sexual behavior is also just as likely to be the early flush of romance as a symptom. Reaching a diagnosis when one is not a qualified professional is hard.

The bullying in the book is rarely met with adult censure. Here, again, it is not adequately addressed by the faculty at the school. The baseball coach intervenes, but not in a way that results in any long-term consequences or solution.

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