Book Review | All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See   All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr (2014)


The Facts:



Short and sweet, this is a historical fiction novel about a young, blind French girl and a male Nazi youth, and their experiences before, during, and after WWII. Click book cover above to be taken to the Goodreads synopsis.


Non-Spoiler Review:

This was a beautifully written book, with simple, yet elegant prose that was easy to read. Doerr has excellent skill in creating a palpable atmosphere, without it being too lengthily described or over the top obvious that he’s trying to be “atmospheric” – if that makes any sense. (It does in my mind, but that doesn’t always meaning anything…).

The chapters were extremely short – at the longest a few pages, and at the shortest a few paragraphs – told in alternating perspectives. Additionally, the book was broken into sections which moved forward and backward in time. I both loved and hated the short chapters. I liked them because it was super convenient I was able to pick it up, quick read a few chapters, and before I knew it 30 pages had gone by.  Hated might be too strong of a word, but I disliked the short chapters because it felt a little choppy as I was reading at times, both with the jumping around from different perspectives, as well as jumping around in time.

Despite this book being easy to read, I feel like it took me awhile to get through. I also felt like it sagged in the middle quite a bit, and could have done with a stronger editing hand in that area. Otherwise the pacing was decent enough. It probably didn’t help that I was reading Redeployment at the same time, so that’s a lot of war talk, and I could have done with something a litter fluffier to lighten things up a bit. My bad.

I really liked that this didn’t feel like every other WWII historical fiction novel I’ve already read a million times before, in that it wasn’t some overarching story about the war, but more like a day in the life of each of these characters.

Doerr really kept Marie-Laure’s and Werner’s stories separate for QUITE awhile, so much so that I wondered if there was ever going to be an overlap. And then… it happened so subtly, and perfectly. I REALLY loved the very moment when the story lines came together. Excellent.

There were several truly heartbreaking moments in this book, which left a lasting impression. I probably could have done without the cursed diamond story line… I mean, why? All in all, a great read, but maybe a little over-hyped, as my expectations were met, but not exceeded.


Rating: [4/5 stars]


Looking for more…


Have you guys read this? If so, what did you think? Do you think it’s over-hyped or hyped-for-a-good-reason?


| All the Light We Cannot See | Scribner | 2014 | hardcover | purchased |


12 thoughts on “Book Review | All the Light We Cannot See

  1. I’ve read maybe a third of this one and I set it down because it did feel like it was moving along very slowly. I needed something else to keep me from slumping. I do want to go back to it because I feel like Doerr has good things in store for me. We’ll see!


    1. I’m really glad I finished, and ended up really liking it a lot. I think it’s worth it in the end, but I completely agree that it drags along a bit especially in the middle. I actually probably would have read it even slower, if not for the tournament. Sometimes I think it’s completely ok to sloowwwlllly make your way through a book, and can still end up enjoying it in the end! Thanks so much for checking out my review, and commenting! 🙂


  2. I had the same feeling that it was a little draggy — took me forever too. Also I totally agree that the whole cursed diamond thing could’ve been left out.


  3. I don’t really get the point of the diamond, because if the story was mostly about the connection between Marie-Laure & Werner, which I think it was… then the diamond isn’t really needed at all.


    1. I think it’s a book for the masses, and even if you don’t LOVE it, and I think most people will at least LIKE it. Great writing, and intriguing characters. Thanks for commenting, and I hope you enjoy it when you get to it! 🙂


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