All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places

by

Jennifer Niven

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All the Bright Places: 28. Finch: Day 28 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
John Ivers, an old man who lives out in the country, greets Finch and Violet when they pull into his yard. He leads them to the two roller coasters he built in his backyard, the Blue Flash and the Blue Too, and explains that he’s an “adrenaline junkie.” John says he loves “the thrill of impending, weightless doom.” Finch likes and understands that phrase—and he thinks that Violet makes him feel that way all the time. The roller coasters are built into the side of a shed. They only go 25 miles per hour, and the Flash is only a 10-second ride, but Finch is itching to ride it.
Finch likes to take risks—he pushes Little Bastard as fast as the car can go, for instance. These roller coasters seem to be the exact sort of thing he’d like—in part because experiencing thrills like roller coasters helps Finch stay “awake.” When Finch says that Violet causes him to feel “the thrill of impending, weightless doom,” it suggests that she’s also helping him stay “awake.” But it nevertheless suggests that this happy period will come to an end, given how sinister the “doom” makes it seem.
Themes
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Language, Meaning, and Control Theme Icon
Finch climbs into the bucket seat, and John straps him in and tells him to hold on. Finch screams as the coaster goes and rides it five more times. Then, Violet takes her turn. She screams and rides it several times, taking turns with Finch. When Finch climbs out the last time, he reaches for Violet to steady himself. It feels natural. John asks if they want to ride the Blue Too. Finch doesn’t—he wants to be alone with Violet—but Violet runs for the roller coaster. The Blue Too isn’t as much fun, so they ride the Flash a few more times.
Being with Violet in such a high-adrenaline situation makes this experience even more emotionally intense for Finch. Moreover, riding these roller coasters doesn’t make him look any different from anyone else—plenty of people enjoy roller coasters. So, this experience helps Finch feel normal.
Themes
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon
As they head for the car, Violet notes that this is the end of their wandering. But Finch suggests that they keep wandering, especially since Violet’s parents are on board. On the drive home, Violet rolls down the window and writes in their notebook. She explains that she started out making notes on the roller coasters, but now she just has ideas she’s trying to get out. After a few more miles of silent writing, Violet says she likes Finch because he’s interesting and different, and she can talk to him.
Violet is comfortable in the car with Finch—she’s clearly decided that it’s okay to trust him and take steps to cope with the trauma she experienced  in the accident that killed Eleanor. Telling Finch that she can talk to him shows that Violet and Finch are growing close, but it also suggests that Violet sees Finch as a person like any other—not a dangerous “freak.”
Themes
Community, Support, and Trust Theme Icon
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon
Suddenly, the air feels electric. Finch tells Violet he likes everything about her, and he takes the first exit off the highway. He pulls into a library parking lot, gets out and goes around to her door, and says he can’t wait anymore. Finch pulls Violet out of the car and kisses her, and Violet kisses him back. Then, Finch picks Violet up and puts her in the backseat of Little Bastard, where they start to undress. Violet laughs until Finch starts to slide his hand into her pants. When she pulls away, Finch realizes that she’s a virgin. He can’t believe she never had sex with Ryan Cross of all people, and he tells her, “someday.”
Violet’s openness makes Finch feel as though life is worth living again—she sees him as a person, and that’s intoxicating after being treated so poorly by everyone else. Noting that they’re going to have sex “someday” suggests that Finch is going to do what he can to keep their relationship alive for a while yet—now, he has even more to look forward to as he tries to stay “awake.”
Themes
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
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Later, in his room, Finch is “overcome by words.” He writes songs and then writes that he wasn’t even close to killing himself today. He writes about the theoretical Euthanasia Coaster, which is a three-minute ride that kills people with centrifugal force. Suddenly, “time folds,” and Finch comes to in the next town over, exhausted from his run. He walks the whole way home. On his walk, he thinks about the man who thought up the Euthanasia Coaster. The coaster would kill people “humanely—with elegance and euphoria.” Finch thinks “elegance and euphoria” describes how he feels about Violet. He suddenly wants to be the person Violet sees. This boy belongs in the world and “in his own skin.”
Though Finch has some control over language when he writes songs and writes about the Euthanasia Coaster, he still seems to be struggling (as when “time folds” and he blacks out and comes to on his run). He’s happy—euphoric, even—but he also can’t separate his happiness from his thoughts about death. And he confirms here that Violet saying he’s easy to talk to makes him feel like someone sees him as a person, not someone odd and unknowable. And this, too, gives Finch something to work toward, since he wants to be the only boy Violet sees.
Themes
Mental Health, Stigma, and Suicide Theme Icon
Individuality and Identity Theme Icon
Grief, Trauma, Purpose, and Survivorship Theme Icon
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