All the Light We Cannot See

 p. 70  “From a certain angle, the spring seems so calm: warm, tender, each night redolent and composed.  Yet everything radiates tension, as if the city had been built upon the skin of a balloon and someone is inflating it toward the breaking point.”

A school librarian’s reading fare during the school year primarily consists of students’ preferences; mine are for elementary & middle school children. While talented authors abound in these age groups, the plots, the settings, and most often, the character development in these stories are limited to the audience they serve.

With the inclusion of a relatively new labeling, “Adult Books For Teens” (AB4T) of a standard label, “Adult,” my reading world has expanded during September through May. Collection development remains relative to my older and advanced students in eighth grade, and limited (by virtue of physical space) to titles those reflecting their studies. Fortunate am I to have checked off this above title while previewing professional book reviews.

Anthony Doerr has crafted a sublime tale. I don’t know how he did it. Seeing WW II from the youthful perspectives of a German boy and  French girl is not an unusual approach.  But, imbuing these characters with their extreme sensitivities to sound and touch, creates a most uncommon approach to the effects of war. His splicing of time frames through alternating chapters – breaking the linear frames of references- exacerbates the fragmentation and disorientation of those who suffer through continual loss.

I love everything about this story. I felt it all, too.  You cannot ask for more from an author – to bring an unknown world directly into your body with such tenderness and heartbreak that you regret reading the last page.

Doerr, Anthony.  All the Light We Cannot See. New York: Scribner, 2014. Print.



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