Ever since this novel came out I’ve been wanting to read it. I have only heard great reviews, how the story is magnificent, and the writing is breathtaking. Unfortunately it was book 1 of many that I bought at the same time (thanks Barnes and Noble) so it has been sitting in my bookshelf for awhile waiting to be read. Here’s my take on it:
The book mainly follows the lives of Werner, a German boy who live in an orphanage with his sister and Marie Laure who lives in France with her father and then uncle during WWII. I will be honest, I thought this novel was going to be the lives of these two characters meeting and falling in love but it so different and so much more than that.
At a young age, Werner fears he will be asked to work in the mines. Luck, he thinks brings him to a new job because he is so gifted in electronics. He can fix and build things that no other 14 year old can seem to do. He is given the opportunity to go to a school for the Hitler. Werner is excited to be able to learn new things and not have to work in the mines though his sister is less thrilled. As the novel continues, Werner–who was taken at such a young age, begins to realize that what he is doing isn’t what he signed up for.
Meanwhile Marie-Laure, a young girl who has lost her site is being forced out of Paris because of the war with her Father to a small town where her Uncle lives. Unknown to Marie-Laure, her father who worked at a Museum in Paris is caring a stone of fortune but also misfortune at the same time. Marie-Laure has to grow up at a very quick age to deal with all of the new changes that her life is taking. She finds herself immersed in her thoughts, her senses and her books to escape it all.
The novel continues with the lives of Werner and Marie-Laure as well as some other characters during the war. Finally they meet and their lives change forever based on their one day together.
It took me awhile to get into this novel, I think because it wasn’t what I expected. Each chapter is about a different character and they are as short as 1 page each which took me a lot to get used to. But while it continued, I found the complexity of what the author was writing, as well as the story behind it all. I’ve also realized that there is so much I have forgotten or didn’t know about WWII and all the countries it effected. This novel provided me not only with that, but to remember how many innocent people were effected, including Werner and the boys who went to the same school to do what they thought was needed for their country.