“You mustn’t go anywhere else. You mustn’t go to the beaches.”
“I’ll come directly back.”
“Then go, Marie-Laure. Go like the wind.”
Title: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
My Rating: 5/5
ATTENTION: There is no spoilers in this review.
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
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 synopsis is from Goodreads.)
The book switches back and forth from the points of view of the two main characters, Marie-Laure Le-Blanc and Werner Pfenning. It takes place during WWII, and shows the two different sides of the war. Werner is sent to help the German army because a general noticed his talent with technology and mathematics.
The book takes place over a couple years, so you get to watch the characters grow up.
The book doesn’t look over the factors of war like rape, death, and how the Germans treated the Jews. However, the whole time, Werner is clueless to what he is doing to others. He found that his actions were just because of the Fuhrer, aka Hitler, deemed it okay.
There was this blue pear-shaped diamond with red in the center that makes it look like there’s a fire in the middle of an ocean. It supposedly has a power where whoever in possession of it would be immortal, but misfortune would come over the ones the possessor loves.
The museum that Marie-Laure’s dad worked at that had the diamond locked away decided to make three copies of the diamond, and without telling if they have the fake or the real, give four workers a diamond as they set out to different locations to flee from the war. For a good portion of the story, Von Rumpel gous looking for the stone because he’s sick with what seems to be cancer, and none of the doctors could heal him. He’s not a nice man, and starts to go a bit coo-coo in the head as time runs out.
As for the war itself, it was harsh. There weren’t any full out battle scenes, but there were times where guns were shot and people ended up dead on the street. The book more focuses on the life of the everyday folk, not of the soldiers on the battlefields.
The story was beautifully written. The chapters were so short, the book didn’t seem as long as it was.
She’s a blind, young girl that lived with her father in an apartment in Paris. She’s constantly hungry (which is normal for a growing girl) but is brave and free. Throughout the story, I admired her strength, despite her situation.
The father of Marie-Laure Le-Blanc. He worked at a museum and would make a wooden model of the city for his daughter to learn. He was very caring, and always put Marie-Laure first. He had a lot on his shoulders as the story progressed.
The Le-Blanc family went to live with Etienne, the “crazy” uncle. He started to become paranoid after the war that he fought in. He was very intelligent, and helped the people in his household even though he wanted to lock himself inside his room.
She was the housekeeper of or Etienne Le-Blanc. She’s been taking care of him and his brothers ever since they were kids. When Marie-Laure’s dad had to run errands, Madame Manec would take care of the kid and feed her peaches. She was like the motherly figure that Marie-Laure never had. She might have been old, but she had a strong soul.
This genius orphan didn’t know what his work was causing. His knowledge was used to pin point people who are thought to be helping the enemy and the rest of his crew would go in and kill the people inside the house. He’s clueless the whole time.
She’s Werner’s younger sister, and looks helps look after the other kids in the orphanage while Werner goes off to fight for the Fuhrer. She often warned Werner about how Hitler wasn’t what he thought he was, but Werner always ignored her.
Frederick was a kid that was sent to the same camp as Werner was. They were bunk mates, and quickly became friends. He had a passion for birds, and had a soft heart. He didn’t like making enemies. Like Jutta, he understood what the Fuhrer was trying to do and tried to tell Werner, but once again, Werner didn’t listen.
Sergeant Major Reinhold von Rumpel
He’s a heartless bastards that’s sick and would do anything and everything to get that pear-shaped diamond. Yeah. I didn’t like him from the start.
I give this book 5 / 5 BBC Sherlock heads.
Until next time….