Friday, December 2, 2016

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Star Rating : 5 out of 5 

Content Rating : MODERATE

Back Cover :
"On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.”

My Thoughts :

First off, do not let the Non-Fiction label scare you off. Hillenbrand paints a vivid story for you and to me this book does not read like your typical Non-Fiction. I thought this book was excellent and you should definitely ADD IT to your reading list. The book never drags out. As a confession, I did see the movie prior to reading the book, which I hardly ever do. But of course, the book of course has so much more detail and is so compelling; I could not put it down. At several parts in the book internally you will find yourself chanting, “USA, USA, USA!”

I rated this as MODERATE. It has some language; but, only one f-word. There are some descriptions of injuries. The prison scenes are intense, but none are excessively gory. (NOTE : There has been a Young Adult version released that is supposed to be tailored for readers 12 years old and up.)

What I liked :

  • The Endurance – The book is about Louie Zamperini and his unbelievable journey. He is driven to his limit and survives. Along the way, we also get a glimpse into the endurance against incredible hardships and cruelty during war of many POWs that Louie met. The amount and type of suffering described is hard to imagine. Louie himself said, “If I knew I had to go through those experiences again, I’d kill myself.” The book shows the extremes of humanity in causing suffering and enduring suffering.
  • The Setting/History – The part of WWII we tend to hear about is the German Nazis side. However, the war was fought on two fronts and this book opens up the some of the Pacific front to us. I appreciated learning more about this part of the conflict.

What I didn’t like :

  • The Back Cover – This is nitpicky; but, the back cover makes it sound like the whole book is about being lost at sea. The amount of time lost at sea is amazing; but, in my opinion not the most compelling part of the book by far.

What Others Are Saying :

“Extraordinarily moving . . . a powerfully drawn survival epic.”--The Wall Street Journal

“Staggering . . . mesmerizing . . . Hillenbrand’s writing is so ferociously cinematic, the events she describes so incredible, you don’t dare take your eyes off the page.”People
“An astonishing testament to the superhuman power of tenacity.”--Entertainment Weekly

Reviewed by Shayna Hinshaw

Pick Up Your Copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

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