All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – Book Review


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 she 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.

I read this in December and am fiiiiiinally getting around to reviewing it. Inspired by one of my best friends I’m trying to focus more on the things that truly make me happy in life, one of which is blogging. So, I will be writing a back log of reviews for books I’ve finished in the past few months that I did not bother to review *gasp*.


I generally avoid reading historical fiction as I tend to find it a bit dry, but have heard such amazing things about All the Light We Cannot See that I decided to borrow my mum’s copy. I say borrow in the loosest of terms because she probably won’t be getting it back now, haha. I really enjoyed reading this book. It gives a good insight into WWII but focuses more on the human stories and less on the war itself, which I liked.

I was fascinated reading Werner’s story and seeing him go from an intelligent and inquisitive young boy to being sucked into the Nazi training program. It was an interesting perspective sympathizing for Werner while watching him become a Nazi soldier because you get a view of the kind, smart, young boy he was and his positive views of the world. Then watching as he joins the Hitler Youth academy only because it allows him to gain a scientific education to further his dreams of becoming a prize winning scientist. Viewing the war through a young man in the Nazi party is not something I’ve seen done in WWII books frequently (Not that I would really know, having read few), and especially not done in such a beautiful manner.

ATLWCS - Death

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Aside from having a great storyline the book is written in very short chapters, making it an easy and quick read, so don’t be intimidated! Not only is it an easy read, but it has quite a few beautiful passages that I bookmarked to read over and over again and have been turning into watercolour art prints. Some of the descriptive passages are just so beautiful!

Anyways, even if you’re like me and avoid books about war definitely try this one. It is marvellous.

Rating: 4.25/5