Jennifer Niven’s Books

I’m sure you’ve heard about this Young Adult author. Her book, All the Bright Places, is now being optioned for a movie. When it was first out, there were mixed reviews, saying the author didn’t portray mental illness (suicide, depression) correctly.

Her latest book, Holding Up the Universe, had some controversy as well. The heroine is big-sized, and there were some backlash that the author was body-shaming. For what it’s worth (I’ve read up to 20% of the book), I don’t think the author was body-shaming at all. Thoughts of being fat, etc, were all from the heroine’s thoughts, and of course, she has these thoughts due to how people shamed her, especially when she was small. I mean, you’re a kid, what are you supposed to think, especially when all these people say you’re fat? And with constant bombardment, these thoughts sort of became a part of you as you grow up, eroding your self-esteem and how you view yourself.

Yet, when Libby finally left her home to go back to school for the first time in years, sure, she met with the same criticisms in school, but this time, she knew who she was and she wasn’t going to let such comments get her down. It’s sad, but the situation is the same everywhere. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have been made to feel bad about our body. Sometimes, it’s genetics and there’s really nothing we can do about that. But with the constant bombardment in media that the perfect body is a stick thin body, well…

Not that I condone such comments. Because they are wrong. No one has the right to judge us on our body. No one has the right to make us feel bad about ourselves.

However, if you yourself think you’re fat and you want to slim down for whatever reason–health reasons, to fit into the dress, etc–then no one has the right to stop you from doing that either. And, if a friend or a family member tells you to eat right, to diet, to lose some pounds because you are already becoming UNHEALTHY, then I don’t think that’s body shaming either. It’s called concern for your well being, and you should count yourself lucky that you have someone who cares enough about you to call you out on it.


Now that that’s out of the way, my real reason for this post:

I’ve tried to read both books of this author. I’ve heard a lot about them and I wanted to read All the Bright Places before the movie comes. Unfortunately, the author couldn’t sustain my interest. By that, I mean, it’s all too easy for me to put down the book, get lost in my work and forget about the book until days later, when I happen to see it in my Overdrive bookshelf. Then I pick it up again to continue reading, and…the cycle repeats. Whereas other books, I finish in one or two days, or at most three days. So, I made the painful decision to give up and move on to other books.