All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doer (Book review)

Synopsis:Marie-Laure Leblanc lives with her Father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works. When she is twelve ,the Nazis occupy Paris and Father flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie- Laure’s reclusive great uncle live in a 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 , Werner Pfenning, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Warner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down resistance. Marie-Laure and Wernee, from warring countries, both having lost many people they loved, come together in Saint-Malo, As Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.My impressions:Very dynamic action filled beginning. They are about to be bombed in the opening scene. What can be more tense than this? Marie-Laure is a blind girl introduced early on. Who doesn’t have the assistance of a mother or father? So I am immediately wondering is she going to be ok? What’s with this tear shaped stone?Chapter 1 we are introduced to Werner and Jutta Pfennig who live just outside Essex, Germany. Much like Marie-Laure they are orphans. But they live at the Children’s House under the care of Frau Elena, who’s character I immediately find interesting. She is the house directess, who is a nun, who drinks occasionally and sings off key in French. One thing I noticed immediately was his use of setting. You are in scenes with characters every step of the way. Imagine my surprise when I find out the author lives in Idaho! I assumed he grew up in Paris. The intricate details make me feel like he’s been there. I also feel like I’ve been there. Of course good books do this travel the world without leaving your living room. Throughout the story there is foreshadowing concerning Marie Laure’s Father, by the time THINGS GO WRONG, it is heart-wrenching….but not shocking. Our story alternates from Marie- Laure and Werner’s perspective, from 1941- 1944 (mostly). By the time I got to page 167 I was wondering if these two were ever going to meet.I was intrigued by some of the minor characters; like Uncle Etienne, Marie Laure’s great uncle , who has not been right since WWI. There is Frederick, a classmate of Werner’s, with encyclopedic knowledge of birds. This character had an unflappable sense of self. The difficulty of reviewing a book that is this good is that I feel it’s already been said. It’s got ALL THE THINGS: good use of tension, strong well developed characters, and top notch descriptions. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s