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3.09.2016

Book Report - All The Light We Cannot See and Metamorphosis

Well, I've officially started reading again, but before I can get into the new books I've read I have to finish up the reviews of the ones I hit in 2015.

First up, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
All the Light We Cannot See tells the parallel and intertwining stories of Marie-Laure, a young blind girl, living in Paris with her father; and Werner, a German orphan, placed in a Hitler Youth academy during World War II. As the Germans get closer to Paris, Marie-Laure and her father flee for the coastal town of Saint-Malo to stay with a strange and reclusive great-uncle and hopefully escape the invasion. Meanwhile, Werner's expert radio skills move him up the ranks at his school, into the war as a soldier, and eventually lead him to the same Saint-Malo town where the two stories converge.

I really enjoyed All the Light We Cannot See. Anthony Doerr does a fantastic job of describing the settings and characters. Like painting a picture, I could see everything he described so vividly. It was such an interesting take to view the horrors of World War II (on both the French and German side) through the eyes of children. Marie-Laure was such an extraordinary character, so brave at such a young age. Werner's story was especially fascinating, and the inside look at a Hitler Youth academy was terrifying. This was an extraordinary read that I can't recommend enough.

Next up, the classic, Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.
One morning, Gregor Samsa, awakes to discover that he has turned into a giant insect. Gregor attempts to adjust to this new life, while his parents and sister, are burdened with the task of caring for him in his altered state all the while simultaneously disgusted by his new form.

The entire time I was reading Metamorphosis, I kept saying to myself, "What a strange story." There is no explanation ever given for why Gregor transforms into bug, and I didn't know if it was supposed to be an allegory for something bigger. A quick Google search didn't result in an answer, so I just took it at face value. Gregor felt himself a burden to his family, and they, obviously, did not deal with the circumstances well. His situation can easily be compared to when a young, healthy, and able person suddenly falls ill or becomes disabled. He doesn't want to be a burden, but he is also incapable of doing anything for himself. He's entirely dependent on a family that, each day, cares less and less for him. It's a quick read, but the dark subject matter is sure to stay with you much longer.

I read both these books as part of the Pop Sugar 2015 Reading Challenge. All the Light We Cannot See marked off "A Pullitzer Prize winning book" and Metamorphosis marked off "A book more than a 100 years old".

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