Friday, January 14, 2011

Unbroken - Hillenbrand

My apologies for taking so long to get my first book review up.  Of course, it being my first…I seriously doubt there are many folks out there anxiously waiting, on the edge of their seats, for my comments (hopefully there will be some day!)... But it was well worth it, because this my first Blog Read was a 4+ winner!

Want to read… 
A story about a juvenile delinquent turned Olympic hopeful? A story about a war hero? A story about a WWII prisoner of war? A story about being stranded at sea fighting for survival? And a story about a survivor who battles, and beats, post-traumatic stress and finds peace and forgiveness in God?
Let me save you a little time.  Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit, is all of these...and every one of its 496 pages is wonderful (so don’t let that scare you off)!
From the first pages describing the childhood of Louie Zamperini, a hellion who barely avoids being locked up in ‘Juvie’ on more than one occasion, to the final pages when you realize that this amazing, strong and resilient wonder is still alive and kicking in his 90’s…you fall in love with this man. 
In the interim, you learn about Louie's family’s efforts to focus his energy on track and running, which ultimately leads an Olympic career. Unfortunately, his gold medal dreams are destroyed with the start of WWII.  After signing up, Louie is sent to fight in the Pacific where his plane ultimately crashes, leaving all dead but himself and two crew mates. They float westward, toward Japan and the enemy, for a record breaking 41-days.  After an enemy attempt fails to destroy their raft and drown them, the two remaining men are eventually caught by the Japanese and sent to endure years in captivity in work camps.  Barely surviving starvation, sickness and extreme cruelty by their captors, they are finally released at war’s end and sent home to recuperate from their experiences, with little assistance and guidance. After struggling with obvious (but yet unacknowledged) post-traumatic stress, Louie eventually discovers that the only way to move forward is to forgive his captors and, with his newly found belief in God, is able to do so.
This book reads very smoothly and, surprisingly, quickly. While being a wonderful and interesting novel, it also gives you a never-boring history lesson and leaves you wanting more.
Definitely worth the read (and the few cents in late charges from the library)!
4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.