Wow. My mind is blown into smithereens. Like, I seriously just need a moment to comprehend all the thoughts. WOW.
Summary taken from Goodreads:
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.
This book, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, was beautiful. The writing was GORGEOUS, and the WW2 elements were raw. At times, the plot felt just a little slow, but the writing made every bit of the journey worth it. Doerr's words were just...gorgeous! Like, mindbogglingly beautiful. I loved all the different references, the images he created. Everything about his writing was just so pleasant. Like how Doerr used radios and the ocean in the story was WOW. And just all the different things he used in the story to represent different aspects of life, emotions, feelings and AHHH it was all so COOL (i'm at a loss for words, so sorry).
Now the characters... o boi. How can i do this without loosing it ??? They were AMAZING. Raw, real, totally real, and just. Man. Each of the characters had inward struggles, questions, needs. They were wonderfully crafted. The story is told from multiple POV's, but the main two character's were Marie-Laure and Werner. It was so interesting watching the story playout from both sides, Doerr made it possible to empathize with both and all characters wonderfully.
I think one of the main things that first made me interested in reading this book was the fact that Marie-Laure is BLIND. How cool is that?? I mean, I'd read AnY WW2 book anyways, but this just made everything so, so... different! And it was wonderful! I loved her relationship with her great-uncle, how they could relate in so much, how she changed him. Marie was an amazing character with raw emotions and real fears and yet hope and yet no hope. AH. I can't help but cry for her, her pain, her Papa.
“She says, “When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?”
And Werner... eep. He was precious. Literally. Precious. The way his mind worked made him so endearing, I just wanna preserve him from the world and all the pain thereof. He and his sister Jutta, white-haired and curious, just worked themselves into my heart. From the beginning, Werner was just struggling with understanding his goals, his purpose... until he finds it. *smiles as tears fall* He was also a very memorable character, he was strong but lost. Like a puppy.
“Open your eyes, the Frenchman on the radio used to say, and see what you can with them before they close forever.”
In the moments when Werner would be working on whatever device his professor gave him to work on, the scientific elements started to bug me just a little because... well let's just say, math is my mortal enemy so I had trouble understanding a lot of it. And like I said in the beginning, the plot felt kind of slow at times, but y'know what. It's not a YA book, and it was so beautiful who in the world even cares?
Yucky stuff: This IS an adult WW2 book, so there was mature content, including swearing (one character says the F-bomb a few times, but fortunately he is not shown frequently at all, and is only in the second half of the book), taking God's name in vain, and one very, very vague rape scene, also a couple other mature innuendos mentioned very quickly and easily ignored (all from the guy that cusses the most). But yeaaa. Also, war elements such as wounds, corpses, etc. but that's to be expected in any accurate war book.
IN CONCLUSION: I'd only recommend this book to older teens and up because of these elements. In the end, this book was beautifully written, skillfully crafted, and if you don't include the bad stuff AMAZING. Not for the faint of heart because it is fairly graphic, but absolutely a must read! I enjoyed it very much, still pondering over some things. It's the kind of book that leaves you thinking about the meanings of everything because it's SO DEEP. MAN.
“There are, he assures her, no such things as curses. There is luck, maybe, bad or good. A slight inclination of each day towards success or failure. But no curses.”
“Walk the paths of logic. Every outcome has its cause, and every predicament has its solution. Every lock its key.”
“The window glows. The slow sandy light of dawn permeates the room. Everything transient and aching; everything tentative. To be here, in this room, high in this house, out of the cellar, with her: it is like medicine.”
“The brain is locked in total darkness, of course, children, says the voice. It floats in a clear liquid inside the skull, never in the light. And yet the world it constructs in the mind is full of light.”
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