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 Marie-Laure 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. – Goodreads
When you have your undergrad degree in History you read Historical novels with a grain of salt. I went into All the Light We Cannot See with this edge, because my undergrad thesis was about women in France in World War II. I don’t want to be this way, it’s just the way I am. All of that being said All the Light We Cannot See drew me and and left me hanging on to every word.
I was fascinated how Doerr created two parallel worlds between Marie-Laure, who is blind, but doesn’t let that stop her and Werner, a boy who was orphaned at a young age and becomes part of the Hitler Youth. In theory these two characters have nothing in common, but All the Light We Cannot See takes place in the 1940’s when Germany and France could not have more in common if they tried.
Although I found the story compelling, I’m not sure it worked from an audio book point of view. I think the story would have worked better if there were two narrators (a boy and a girl) versus the one man narrator. I also found the need to include this diamond in All the Light We Cannot See interesting because I honestly thing the story line would have been better without the diamond. I would have been able to feel more towards two people who are just trying to survive a war.
No matter how many World War II stories I read, I’ll continue to read them because I find a survival story fascinating. I just believe that this could have been trimmed a bit to make a better story.