I loved it. I hated it.
From page 1 to page 482 ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE is brilliant and represents everything I love about reading.
From page 482 to 531 ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE made me want to punch Anthony Doerr. Or at least have him over for dinner so he can explain to me why his ending is better than the one I was planning on.
Seriously, if everyone would just do things my way . . .
It’s a mind-blowingly well written coming-of-age story. It has a fantastically engaging, detailed, complex plot. It’s fascinatingly detailed historical fiction that brings to life the human aspects of World War II better than anything else I’ve read. It has layers upon layers of meaning that I’m way too dense to truly grasp. It has characters that you feel and cheer for. And it has an entirely unsatisfying ending.
Basically, I loved it and I hated it.
“But it’s a war book,” you say. “What did you expect,” you say.
“To not want to kick the dog when I’m finished,” I say.
The Book Thief has the right idea.
So where does that leave me for a recommendation? I think you should read it.
Just make sure Anthony Doerr and your dog aren’t anywhere near you when you finish.
Anthony Doerr just did an interview where he talked about All the Light We Cannot See. He sounds like a pretty nice guy, and now that I've had a month to digest the ending to his book I don't really want to punch him in the face anymore. He was asked about the ending, and I liked what he said:
GR: Goodreads member Kay asks, "What made you pick the ending you did?"
AD: That's an easy question in many ways. World War II is still a memory for that last generation of people who won't be around in 15 years. There will be nobody left on Earth who will remember that war. I knew at least one of the protagonists lives to the present time. We see kids playing video games about WWII. So I wrote a scene pretty early on where a grandson of Marie would have a game, like my sons have a game—which is both a wonderful blessing and really sad, that that's what the experience is—you can die and be reborn and look up from your screen and the war is over. I had that scene pretty early, that there might be a woman in her eighties or nineties for whom all this stuff is a memory. I think it's important to remember that that cult of personality that got built in Germany is not something that could never happen again. All it takes is a very powerful propaganda tool, like radio, and a populace that's maybe struggling for lots of different reasons.