That’s how I felt when I finished All the Bright Places, and Jennifer Niven’s second novel leaves the same impression. Wow.
Holding Up the Universe was a cliche, sappy, predictable romance and I loved every bit of it.
Brilliant writing certainly helps a story and Niven is just chock full of beautiful words and stories that have yet to disappoint me.
While All the Bright Places was dark and heavy, this novel was less so, but still touched on some very important topics. The importance of equity for those who are disabled, bullying taken to an extreme, grief, empowerment, and the power and effect of fiction.
Without integrating these topics, Niven might have created a boring, predictable story. But instead, she packed it with lessons and things that are important and will touch everyone in some way. That is what made this book truly remarkable.
I can’t speak enough about how important how Niven integrated important, worldly topics that everyone faces. Women empowerment was one that especially touched me because I am guilty of being insecure about myself, instead of accepting myself. This is who I am. Libby Strout knows who she is and she had to teach Jack Masselin to see himself for who he is and learn to accept others.
Both characters go through incredible journeys about accepting themselves. While Libby’s journey is smaller, as she has already mostly found herself, Jack has to learn that his disability doesn’t define him, it just shapes him.
Overall, Holding Up the Universe is a beautiful narrative about acceptance, first love, and heartbreak. A seemingly average plot line, but Niven’s brilliant writing and integrated morals that touch your heart make it nearly impossible to put down. And I did not want to put it down.
I am currently reading/listening to High Rise by J. G. Ballard.