The Cold Hand Around the Neck of Teenage Survival
By Savannah Perry, Clarion Staff
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is a gut-wrenching novel hitting on a topic that plagues teenage society: suicide. Focusing on the lives of a high school boy and girl, Jennifer Niven portrays the struggle of those who are plagued with thoughts of self destruction and the inner workings of the teenage mindset through the power of love and coincidence which has a power over us all.
It is evident that the everyday lives of people all over the world are back stories that might never be known or a series of haunting ideas that run ruin over that one person you see every day on your way to work or the barista that always draws a smiley face on your coffee cup or that one kid in the back of that one class who you do not know but wish you did. Negative thoughts are an illness that some people hold inside them. They fester and grow past the point of no return, past the point of taking it back. There is no glorification in suicide, a point in which Niven portrays beautifully. All it takes is one person to change the ideas of those who feel as if they are destined to leave and achieve some sort of greater transcendence as an escape from the hand they have been dealt. A greater future is not uncommon. It is dreamed of by everyone, but it cannot be labeled as an excuse for choices that should not be made.
Life is hard, and life will continue to be hard until you find a reason for it not to be. Who is to say that whatever could be achieved by ripping yourself away from society will be found when the pulse goes flat and the blood lies still? Who is to say that the suffering will not end and that a happy ending could not be achieved? It is you, you who draws in every breath for your tired body. You, who grooms yourself even when you feel like hope is lost. You, who continues to get out of bed each day and face whatever you must because it is within your capability. It is important to note that a savior is not necessary to avoid a confrontation with demise. It is you who controls your body and it is there where the power lies, do not abuse this power.
More often than not it feels as if the world is out to make a mockery of young people, to push and push until it feels as if us teenagers are choking on the demands of the future and the expectations of our loved ones. Do not fall weak to these troubles. They may batter you but they will not defeat you. Moments such as these hold little weight in the grand scheme of things, schemes being life. Death holds a finality that is utterly true. It is a promised certainty that from the day you are born, you will meet your end and it is one of the greatest injustices that you could ever put upon yourself to shorten the time that you have been given. I encourage whoever is reading this to find that bright place. Search for the perfect day. Gather your strength, grit your teeth and bare it. You can and you will. As for those who have survived their own personal reckonings, look for those who were like you, teach them that a transcendence is not only possible, but can be achieved with hard work and determination and the will of the living.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline-
Teen Mental Health-
Stomp Out Bullying-
National Child Abuse Hotline-