Book Review: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See  by Anthony Doerr Genre:  Historical fiction, WWII fiction Synopsis:   Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the...

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Genre: Historical fiction, WWII fiction

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.

Content/Trigger Warnings: Agoraphobia, abuse, naziism/antisemitism, trauma, violence, war 

Overall rating:  ★★★★☆

Look, the entire time I was reading this book, I thought it was the Idris Elba/Kate Winslet movie adaptation. Lmao - that’s The Mountain Between Us. This isn’t adapted yet. I was very confused. All the Light We Cannot See is a WWII story following a blind French girl and a young Nazi boy, ultimately leading to their paths crossing. This was a fine story, and unique in the humanizing of young boys who were inducted into the nazi regime. There was also an interesting, almost fantastical interweaving plot line focusing on something that sounded similar to the philosopher’s stone. But the magic was never actually confirmed - it was just a legend of sorts that held incredible importance within the story while also being a bit of a background player. Honestly, historical fiction - particularly that which surrounds war plots - just doesn’t enthrall me in the way other types of fiction do. I find myself bored and praying for the end to come.

"You know the greatest lesson of history? It's that history is whatever the victors say it is. That's the lesson. Whoever wins, that's who decides the history."

I did find that the pacing of the book was kind of confusing and I could never really grasp onto how much time had passed since the last chapter. There were also some weird jumps between different points in the timeline that just had me all kinds of mixed up. The book was fine, but it was what it was, which wasn’t my cup of tea. It didn’t feel like anything to write home about.

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