All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Some books are fun to read. I breeze through them and enjoy them. They make the perfect addition to my purse or travel bag, and they're basically the literary equivalent of "You've Got Mail" or "The Holiday" (my personal favorite movie).
But some books are important to read. They're harder to get through, not because the story isn't good or the writing is less-than-stellar, but because the subject matter is uncomfortable.
All the Light We Cannot See lands on the "Important" list for me. I'm sure you've seen it blowing up the "Best Books of..." categories all over the place, and I've had several people recommend it. I'd put off reading it for a long time because frankly, anything to do with World War II is usually just so sad. This book is all about the war. It's one of the main characters of the book. I knew I would feel melancholy while I read it, and I just didn't want to.
But I finally caved and started reading it about two weeks ago. Admittedly, it took me a while to get into the story. The book centers on two different children: Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, and Werner, a reluctant German recruit into Hitler's Youth. Their stories don't intersect until the very end, and by the time I finally got there, I cared. I cared a lot.
I don't want to give away too much of the plot, because I think it's better to slowly warm up to the story as you read, but the prose is absolutely gorgeous. I re-read several passages aloud just to hear them spoken.
Is it sad? Absolutely.
Does it end on a depressing note? Hmm. Yes and no. It's very true-to-life and the war didn't end well for anyone, really.
Will you regret reading it? Not one bit.
Go pick up a copy. Tell me what you think.