Sunday, April 17, 2016

Review: All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Published: May 2014
Pages: 530-Hardcover

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

My Review: 
All the Light We Cannot See was a story that was both heartbreaking and beautiful. I had heard many good things about this story going into it and although it took me quite a while to get into, I'm glad I did. First off, the writing was one of the best parts of this book. The vivid imagery, metaphors, and similes were wonderful and completed the story. The characters were lovable and realistic. I loved the two different main characters: Marie-Laure and Werner. Marie-Laure was one of the most enjoyable main characters I have ever encountered. Her blindness often requires others help, but I love that she still seeks adventures on her own and finds passions that excite her. Werner was an interesting character to me. His desire to please others and his ability to question what is going on around him often conflicted. I do not think that Werner was a bad guy, I thnk he just became more of an accomplice to some pretty awful things. The way I look at it is that he knew what was going on was wrong but yet could not get himself to turn away from it. In the end, it is his desire to protect and help others that I will remember Werner for.
What is so heartbreaking about this book is it shows just how awful and horrifying war can be for all sides: civilians and soldiers. This book broke my heart in more ways than one and left me feeling content with the ending yet left me with a sense of sorrow for some of these fictional characters. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in World War II historical fiction, if you are looking for a beautifully written book or you want to try something new. I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.