All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Date Read: November 2, 2014
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Scribner via Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
This book was beautifully written and tells a moving and remarkable story. I will be honest and admit that this is not the kind of book that I normally choose to read these days although I have read quite a few books about World War II in the past. I am really not sure what my thought process was when I requested this book but I am so glad that I had the chance to experience this novel.
To shut your eyes is to guess nothing of blindness.
This story is told from two very different point of views. Marie-Laure is a blind girl living in Paris with her father who works at the museum. She learns to be as self-sufficient as possible at her father's insistence. He carves a miniature replica of their neighborhood so that she can learn the layout and be able to navigate on her own. Eventually, the pair must flee Paris and seek shelter elsewhere. They end up with her great uncle Etienne and his long time housekeeper.
Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.
Werner is a boy living in a German orphanage along with his sister. He is a very intelligent boy who is drawn to mathematical equations and engineering ideas. He loves the radio and learns everything he can about them and people start bringing him radios to repair. He earns a spot at a military school where he is trained to triangulate radio positions. He is soon on the front lines of the war despite the fact that he is still just a child at 16 years of age.
"Is it right," Jutta says, "to do something only because
everyone else is doing it?"
I remember when I was younger wondering why so many people were willing to follow Hilter during World War II and I do still ask myself this question. I think this book illustrates the fact that there are good people fighting on both sides during war. Werner is fighting for Germany because he wants to survive. If he had spoke out against what was happening then he would have been targeted as illustrated by what happens to his friend Fredrick. Everyone really loses when it comes to war and Werner and Marie-Laure are excellent examples of this.
"Don't you want to be alive before you die?"
I love that this book continued past the war. Those pages were really the most moving for me. The lasting effects of the war on those that survived touched my heart and made me think. The way that war affected the lives of these character was perfectly described. This is not a feel good kind of book. It is the kind of book that is incredibly hard to put down and the prose contained within its pages is simply beautiful. I would highly recommend this book to others and plan to read other works by Anthony Doerr in the future.