Review: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

all the light

Those of you who know me know that I generally read YA (young adult) literature.  Being a middle school librarian, it is kind of important that I keep up with that age group.  However, I do allow myself to get crazy and read “grown up” books from time to time.  Generally, I do this when the “Best Books of [insert year here]” lists come out at the end of each calendar year. I see which adult titles are receiving buzz and the librarian in me feels obligated to read them. Long story short, that is how I came upon All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  I was not even a little bit in the mood to read a World War II epic, especially since I had just finished a cutesy adventure book aimed at 11 year olds.  With the library’s eBook loan clock ticking, I gave in.

I am SO GLAD I gave in.

It is not often that I stop while reading to marvel in the actual writing. I usually read quickly, sometimes (OKAY boyfriend, you’re right) skimming.  I do not often stop and re-read sentences just to revel in the words and structure and admire the author’s craft.  This book made me stop, re-read, and wonder how someone could come up with such beautiful sentences.

Okay, enough of my weird love for storytelling and sentences and other really nerdy things.  The story.

The story follows to children – a French girl and a German boy – through the devastation of World War II.  Werner is an orphan whose mechanical aptitude lands him a spot in a Hitler Youth program, where he is trained and eventually sent out to track enemy radio broadcasts.  Marie-Laure and her father are forced to flee their home in Paris for a town by the sea when the Germans occupy the city. Her father is entrusted with a priceless and dangerous relic from the museum in which he works. Marie-Laure is blind, and is left alone in the town by the sea when the Germans take over and, as you might guess, crosses paths with Werner.  The author made the characters so likable that I did not want the story to end.  Like, I was seriously upset. I completely understand why this book is receiving so much praise. This is absolutely worth the read (and trust me, I do not always say that).

In unrelated news, I have an Instagram account for all the books I read.  If you want to catch up, follow me at @the_loudlibrarian!


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