Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Review: All the Light We Cannot See

Author: Anthony Doerr
Started reading: January 31st 2020
Finished the book: March 11th 2020
Pages: 531
Genres: Historical, War, Fiction
Published: May 6th 2014
Source: Received as a gift
Goodreads score: 4.33
My score:
Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. 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, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

My thoughts
I want to thank Emma for reading this book with me. It's always so much fun to talk about a book you're currently reading, and we both loved this book.
This book is a beautiful story about a boy and a girl, both in war, but both with such different lives. It felt like no other war book, because I feel sometimes the books/series/movies can start to feel the same, but this felt unique.

  • Beautifully written: The story was so easy to picture. It all flowed so beautifully. It felt almost a bit poetic. The topic of war is a heavy one, but the author was able to also make it light hearted in certain places. That was a smart move and also very well done.
  • POVS: A French girl and a German boy, this felt like a fresh breath of air. I thought it was an original choice, especially because the author can make you have empathy for this boy that works for the Germans. I don't read a lot of books with a blind main characters. There were a lot of details about how things sound, how they feel. I was curious all the time about how the POVS would come together, and I was not disappointed.
  • Magical: There was a bit of magic in this book. I liked the silver lining that this story had. It definitely felt like war, with loses, people dying and many, many sad things. But because of this little, beautiful magical layer, the story felt a lot lighter. It was a nice combination of black and white, sad and happy, war and peace.
  • Short chapters: This just always helps me read a book. With every chapter, you're like: "I can do another one, they're short anyway!" And before you know it, you're rushing through.
No... 🕊

A pretty original WWII story with a little bit of magic in it, is what this book is. It's beautifully written, even poetic at certain times. The fact that this book has almost a million ratings on Goodreads and has such a high score, says something about it's quality.
I really feel that this is one of the best history books I've read in awhile. When reading these books I always feel so grateful to live in a country of peace...

Other opinions on this book
"All the Light We Cannot See is a dazzling, epic work of fiction. Anthony Doerr writes beautifully about the mythic and the intimate, about snails on beaches and armies on the move, about fate and love and history and those breathless, unbearable moments when they all come crashing together."
- Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins

"A tender exploration of this world's paradoxes; the beauty of the laws of nature and the terrible ends to which war subverts them; the frailty and the resilience of the human heart; the immutability of a moment and the healing power of time. The language is as expertly crafted as the master locksmith's models in the story, and the setting as intricately evoked. A compelling and uplifting novel."
- M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans

Memorable quotes from this book
"Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever."

"So how, children, does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world full of light?"

Thanks for reading!
I'd love to talk books; please let me know what you think about this book/review.


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~ Esther