Good afternoon, everyone! I feel like it’s been a little bit since I’ve last reviewed something for you all. Life has done a fine job of getting in the way of binge-reading. Fellow bibliophiles understand my predicament. I digress. Today, I’m giving you my thoughts on All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This was one of those books you just couldn’t put down. For me, I was drawn in from the second I saw the cover and it just blossomed from there. When it comes to World War II stories, you can’t usually say that there’s beauty to be found within the tragedy, but Doerr managed to pull that off. It’s on numerous bestseller lists and a Pulitzer Prize winner for a reason.
There’s only about ten or so chapters/sections to this novel, but it’s broken down into one and two page segments which allow you to read about each character in a brief way and actually remember everything you’ve just been told.
Marie-Laure is a girl who suffers a tragedy at the age of six, and winds up blind. She does her best to navigate the streets of France during its German occupation.
Werner lives in Germany and in foster care with his sister, Jutta, before he is recruited for Hitler’s Nazi party.
One would think a story involving a Hitler youth would freeze your heart to feeling for such a boy, but with Werner, that’s not the case. He maintains his sense of right and wrong all throughout his training, and does what he can to survive, but not get blood on his hands or wind up murdered for treason or desertion.
Marie-Laure occupies her time with her books and visiting the beach behind her uncle’s house. After her and her father flee Paris for Saint-Malo, she stays with extended family when her father is arrested.
Each child’s tale progresses, and they live in two different worlds, yet the same world at the same time. It’s one that is dominated by war, by death, by destruction. Eventually, their paths cross, and they save each other in their own ways.
The best part of the story for me were the times after the war ends. When we enter new decades, meet the future, and see how everyone fits into each others lives as they age and time goes by. I could continue on and go into more detail about these characters and their story, but I’d really rather you all find out for yourselves. Take my word for it, and pick up this book immediately. You won’t regret it. The writing is enchanting and the story brings magic to a time when there wasn’t really any to believe in. My final rating: 5 out of 5 stars