“All the Light We Cannot See” Review

This book wasn’t what I expected. Sometimes it felt, for me, to be a little too true-to-life to be an entirely comfortable read. It was, however, a book that I couldn’t walk away from. Why couldn’t I walk away from it? It was just a book. Just words on paper, telling a story about people who don’t actually exist, a time that is being forgotten and reworked until it’s unrecognizable from what I learned in grade school, places I’ve never been and probably will never go even though I really really want to travel, and experiences I will never have.

So what did this book say to me? Why did I read it? Was it merely because the book was engaging. Telling me a story that I had never heard before in such a way that I did not want to put the book down until I had discovered every secret? Why did I like this book? Well, I was always a history geek. History was my favorite subject in school. I would read every bit of my history book and ace all my tests in this subject. Is it because this book dealt with a part of history that I’ve been fascinated by since I first heard about it? I don’t know.

What I do know is that the book is well written. The characters are real people you can see if you close your eyes and concentrate. The pacing is superb. Anthony Doerr moves back and forth through time, but it wasn’t confusing. At least for me. I read it in three or four days. I had to reach the end and find out what happened to these people. The ending did not disappoint me, although it was a surprise and not at all what I was expecting.

A definite recommend to anyone who likes historical novels about WWII or about people fighting to survive impossible lives.

Thoughts on Diverse Book Offerings

I think when people say they just want to read a good story, they’re really saying they just want to read a book by someone like themselves and they don’t think a PoC can craft a good story. I’ve read books by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Khaled Hosseini. They showed me a part of life that I may (nay, most definitely will) never experience. Does that negate my own experience? I don’t think so. This world is a kaleidoscope of colors: brown, yellow, white, red, black. Ok, I know those color designations could be offensive. I don’t mean to be really. It’s a known fact that reading about someone else’s experiences creates empathy for others. A reader is more empathetic of someone than a non-reader.

So how does one read more diversely? By reading more diverse books, on purpose. This means (for me, too) seeking out those books that are different from our own experiences. Seeking out books that might make us uncomfortable. Really, it’s when we start to become uncomfortable that we stretch our imaginations to the point that we can step into someone else’s moccasins, as the saying goes, and see through another’s eyes. I want to travel the world, but I just don’t have the funds, so until the day comes when I can set out to conquer the world, books can open those doors for me right here and right now.