Continuing the #bookaday challenge posted by Borough Press. Today’s challenge is a book with a blue cover. Several books came to mind immediately, including Michael Cunningham’s The Snow Queen, R.J. Palacio’s YA masterpiece Wonder and the graphic novel that has stuck with me called Same Difference.
Ultimately, I had to go with my most recent 5 star read, All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr.
I will not be able to do justice to this beautiful, thoughtful, spirited WWII novel here. Doerr has created something exquisite in the way he crafts his characters and brings the war to life.
Because the main characters, Marie Laure and Werner, are both so interested in the changing world, we are too. Through their eyes we explore science, radio, friendship and patriotism. Doerr even makes snails interesting! Marie Laure’s observations and strength of character are made all the more complex because she is blind. I simply fell in love with her and her resilience. Werner too is extremely sympathetic, no easy accomplishment for a Nazi soldier. Doerr interweaves their individual stories in such a smart way. The story never felt contrived.
As I devoured the 500+ pages in just a few days, I was so grateful for the balance of devastation and hope. Of course most great war novels involve resilience and courage in the face of adversity, but Doerr seems to do it in such a sensitive way. He asks the fundamental question a few times:
“Don’t you want to live before you die?”
Each character has to face the question in his or her own way. Without ever feeling manipulated I felt inspired.
A very special book with top-notch writing, complex characters, an interesting plot and honest emotions.