All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See


From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant “New York Times” bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall 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, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.  (Summary and cover courtesy of


I really wanted to like this one, but I just couldn’t get into the storyline.  I adored “seeing” things through Marie-Laure’s perspective initially however and I was very interested in how she handled things as far as navigating the city.  Werner also had aspects that I found intriguing and I was curious how they were going to meet up.  The jumping storylines and back and forth in time didn’t work for me and I just found myself frustrated rather than enjoying that style.

I also found that the descriptions of things started to drag on me rather than enhancing the story.  After dragging myself through the “future” a few rounds I gave up around 150 pages.  This may be one that I go back to down the line to give another shot, but in the short term it’s a “did not finish”.

Warning: Contains violence.

Rating: 1 stars!

Who should read it? World War II enthusiasts and folks who want to know what the fuss is about.