Morbid, Lively, Searching
When we meet Theodore Finch, he's standing outside a six-story window, contemplating suicide. At the end of the book, he follows through.
In between, he thinks about killing himself almost constantly, down to the fun facts about other people's suicides that he types up in his journal:
Facts: Jumping increases on full moons and holidays. One of the more famous jumpers was Roy Raymond, founder of Victoria's Secret. (3.52)
Uh…good to know? Add to that Violet's grief over the death of her sister, and we've got ourselves one seriously morbid novel.
What's interesting is that it's also pretty lively. Part of that comes down to Finch, whose manic moods and racing thoughts keep things moving. On a night drive to Violet's house, for instance, he describes how speeding like a lunatic makes him feel more alive:
I lean forward, like I'm a rocket, like I. Am. The. Car. And I start yelling because I'm getting more awake by the second. I feel the rush and then some—I feel everything around me and in me, the road and my blood at my heart beating up into my throat… (6.5)
Pretty exciting stuff, right?
Finally, this is a book in which everyone's searching for something. Violet searches for meaning in her life after her sister dies in a car accident. Later, she searches for answers after Finch takes his own life. She writes in a notebook:
Where are you? And why did you go? I guess I'll never know this. Was it because I made you mad? Because I tried to help? (55.56)
Before he dies, Finch searches for an identity, a sense of belonging, and peace. He never finds them.
Ugh. And now we're searching for a tissue.