All The Light We Cannot See

By Anthony Doerr

Report by Eve Vanderneck

Book Overview

Marie-Laure is not your ordinary carefree child. Although she is curious, cheerful, and intelligent like most children, she is also blind. Marie is growing up in Paris, France during the 1940's, when WWII takes over. Her life completely changes from routine, pleasant days with her father (the locksmith at the Museum of Natural History), to confusion and fear as she must escape the terrors of the German invasion.

Hundreds of miles away, in Germany, Werner is also growing up - but in an orphanage by a coal mine. He is gifted with unbelievable talent, and is recruited into an elite Nazi training program. As he struggles with the definitions of right and wrong, both Marie-Laure's and Werner's lives start to intertwine through their horrendous journey in WWII.

This book really demonstrates the fine line in life between right and wrong, and I think that's really a message the author is trying to convey, thusly being the theme. He leads you through the story with many different thoughts and viewpoints on certain subjects that are often brought up during times of war. This book definitely has a foggy gloom-type feeling, where the certain sparks of goodness are often in vain. I would classify this book as a realistic fiction historic novel, decorated with many awards.

What did I enjoy about the book?

I loved the perspective that Marie-Laure had throughout this book. She is telling her side of the story from the senses of a blind girl, and understanding what that is like is truly amazing. I also loved how their two totally different lives, Marie's and Werner's, collided towards the end of the book. The imagery in this book is phenomenal.

Was there an obvious slant or bias in the writing?

Absolutely not. Anthony Doerr does a fantastic job keeping viewpoints from all different sides of the war. He makes sure to include all of the different ideas and feelings that the character's have throughout this book. An example of this would be on the subject of the war, Volkheimer basically has an attitude of kill or be killed. Werner is the epitome of confusion, as he doesn't know whom to believe when it comes to right and wrong, and he often has conflicted feelings. Jutta knows deep in her heart that killing is wrong, Von Rumpel thinks it is utterly necessary, and Marie-Laure knows that every soul is worth something.

Why would you recommend this book?

I would recommend this book because it not only provides a very interesting and eye-opening story, but it also has a very adequate and substantial amount of history and knowledge about WWII in it. The story and the things that Marie thinks about the world are simply awe-inspiring, and I would definitely recommend this as a really great read.

Which Characters play important roles that relate to the overall theme?

There are many different characters throughout this book whom get their perspective told. The two main characters are Marie-Laure and Werner. They both have a loved-one that also plays a role in this book - Marie's being her Papa, and Werner's being his baby sister, Jutta. Frederick, Werner's friend, plays a larger role towards the middle of the novel. Von Rumpel, a sergeant major for the Germans, and Etienne, the man Marie stays with, also play very important roles in this book.