On Instagram a few months ago, my friend Reese Witherspoon was recommending All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr up the wazoo. So of course, I ran to the library to request it immediately. Waited a few weeks, and it finally came back in. Although I knew nothing about the book other than it was set during WWII, I was really excited because the last book Reese recommended to me (and her 324032 followers), The Girl on the Train was excellent.
Well. I cannot tell you that All the Light We Cannot See was excellent. To me, it was not a kick ass book. BUT. It since it's pretty kick ass to a lot of other people who reviewed it. I am still going to share my review. And I don't want over 500 pages to be for nothing.
It started off well. We met a young German orphan boy who is incredibly bright and would find radios that were discarded and fix them so that he and his little sister could enjoy listening to radio programs at their group home. Late at night they would hear a program in French that they grew to love. And things started looking up for Werner when he was called up to be a part of Hitler's youth soldiers, and eventually called up to work as someone who traced where radio activity was coming from so that his team to kill "terrorists".
Around the same time we met a young blind French girl who lived with her father in Paris. He worked as a locksmith for a museum, and when the war reached France, he was to take a notorious jewel and travel away with his daughter, Marie-Laure, not knowing if the jewel he possessed was the real one or one of the fakes that were made so that the real jewel didn't fall into the wrong hands. They travel to Saint-Malo to take refuge with Marie-Laure's great-uncle Etienne, who has serious PTSD from the first war, and has more bad days than good. When her father is called back to Paris, and does not return, Marie-Laure wonders if the jewel really is cursed like the stories say.
During the whole book you are waiting for these two kids to crash into each other. It just wasn't the BOOM I was hoping for.
I really liked the beginning and middle of the book. I enjoyed learning about these two children on opposite sides of a gruesome war. But the ending just killed it for me.