Project WW II, Review

All the light we cannot see – Anthony Doerr ***


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.

For a while, this was the book EVERYONE was talking about. I decided to read it because I could add it to my project list. Unfortunately, I was not as impressed as everyone else seemed to be.

I did like the individual story arcs. How Marie-Laure lives her life as a young blind girl and how she balances her imagination and the stories she hears about the war. I liked the myth of the diamond and the descriptions of both Paris and Saint-Malo.

Werner’s journey from the orphanage over the academy to the war. The sciene. The side-characters.

You see.. I liked a lot of things, but I didn’t love them as much as I thought I would.

The writing was good but not mind-blowingly so.

I’m just a bit disappointed. Once again, a book where my expectations were too high because of all the hype. In the end, I didn’t even care when there stories entwined. Maybe I would have liked it better if they missed each other by seconds. She walked out of the street when he got to her house or something like it. That near miss would have been more satisfying than their actual meeting and what happened afterwards.

The end of Werner’s story made me so angry. The end of Marie-Laure’s story was just too much extra information. I just didn’t care…

There’s not much more to say here. I’m completely neutral about this book. It was good but it’s not going to stay with me.

If you loved this book, let me know what it was exactly that you liked.

I’m curious 🙂




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