Tuesday, July 15, 2014

All the Light We Cannot See - Book Review

I almost didn't start All the Light We Cannot See as it got lost amongst all the books I wanted to read, but I am so glad I did!

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is a novel about a blind French girl and a German boy who come together during the Second World War. An unlikely pair, their lives are changed all-together by their chance meeting. Marie-Laure goes blind when she is only six years old and her father helps her find new ways of seeing by building a miniature of their neighborhood for her to memorize. However, she is thrust into new territory when the Germans invade Paris and she must go to her uncle's house by the sea in Saint-Malo. Contrastly, Werner grew up in Germany with his sister in an orphanage fearing a certain death by coal mine. However, his talent for fixing radios earns him a spot in a vicious Hitler Youth school and later, in France tracking down the resistance. It is here that Marie-Laure and Werner fatefully meet.

I loved the build-up of the story, how Doerr intertwines the two characters and their histories. He deftly shows how the characters came to be where and who they are so richly and vividly that you feel as if you know them personally. Doerr paints portraits of a blind girl frantically devouring the pages of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, of a little boy in awe of a French voice on the radio, of an adolescent more preoccupied with the birds flying above him than what is going on below... All of the characters are deep and complex, none of them are what they seem on the surface.

I found Werner's development particularly fascinating as the German perspective is less common in general. What entices him to stay in line and appeals to him about joining the Hitler Youth is not the violence, the hatred, the order, but his fascination with technology and learning. From this perspective it is easy to see how the Reich indoctrinated the young into compliance. Not only that, but there is a fear prevalent in much of Werner's story that allowed him to overlook the bad.

Keep Reading!

1 comment:

  1. this book sounds right up my alley! thanks for sharing your review, and thanks for commenting on my IG


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