Published May 6, 2014
Summary on Goodreads
Sometimes I look at books, see all the rave reviews, and add it to my TBR list without even reading the synopsis or just very roughly skimming it. It’s a really bad habit of mine and I should probably change it. And this is basically what happened with this one. I saw how everyone was loving this book so I added it to my 2016 Read Harder Challenge and even added it to my 2017 Read Harder Challenge since I failed in 2016. However, I wasn’t expecting that it was a historical fiction. I think a part of me knew since I added it to the “read a book about a war” but I didn’t really get it. Alas, I hate historical fiction so when I actually picked it up and actually read the synopsis to know what I’m getting myself into, I was aghast to see that it was a historical fiction and about WWII no less. That being said…I did not enjoy this one as much.Plus I realized that there are just some books that I cannot handle in audiobook form especially when they are either more on the dry side or the topics are too serious for me to have to constantly focus on hearing the book rather than simply reading it. Historical books that focused on WWII fell into that category. At first I thought it would be okay since this book actually won an award for audiobooks but it just wasn’t meant to be.I’m sure this book had a lot of amazing literary prose and whatnot but I’m just not the type of person to get that nor appreciate it especially in a topic that I’m not entirely interested in. And because I had it in audiobook form, it was especially easy for me to simply count down the minutes (or hours, really, since it’s a pretty lengthy book).The one thing that bothered me the most, or at least kept me from focusing the most, was the way how the story was portrayed. So the book follows along the lives of two people: a blind French girl and a young German boy. However, there wasn’t any real distinction when it flowed from one to the other. I would be listening to the blind girl’s story and then suddenly, I would be like “wait, who is that? Isn’t the person in the German boy’s story?” and then realize that the viewpoint had shifted and we were now referring to the boy’s perspective. Or vice versa. It was so confusing because it wasn’t as if each chapter was shown the other’s story and it was just flipped at each chapter. Instead, each chapter had multiple reversals so you constantly have to be really aware of when the story shifted and it is now about the other person. I just wish the transition was a lot smoother and I guess it would have been more obvious in a hardcopy rather than an audiobook.Also I was a little disappointed because I thought there was going to be some sort of romantic encounter between Werner and Marie-Laure especially when they meet up later in life but that wasn’t the case. I mean, there might have been some sort of affection between the two but it didn’t really go anywhere. I understand that it was during the war and everything needs to be in secret since Werner is freaking German and is basically focused to be on Hitler’s side but still. I was hoping for some grand romantic escape. Or at least some sort of grand romantic reunion after the war but it was just sad and I felt bad for Marie-Laure. I guess things just weren’t meant to be.Overall, the book was just okay. I didn’t like it too much because I found the flow confusing, I lost hope in a romantic escapade, and the topic was just too serious for me. I much prefer my books to be heartwarming and full of life rather than the opposite. However, if you’re a serious historical buff then maybe you’ll enjoy this one.