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Open Your Eyes: A Review of All the Light We Cannot See

By Isabelle Scott

With 1,116,788 ratings and averaging 4.32/5 stars on Goodreads, Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See is one of the most popular books of the last ten years. I recently reread this book and am still blown away by Doerr’s beautiful writing and talented story building.

All the Light We Cannot See is a historical fiction novel set during WWII and it features two main protagonists. The first is a young blind French girl named Marie-Laure Leblanc. Doerr’s writing uses a fresh perspective in storytelling by seeing the world through her eyes. The readers themselves come to see the world through Marie-Laure’s senses and experience life during the Nazi occupation of the French citadel of Saint-Malo.

The second protagonist is a German orphan named Werner Pfennig who is sent to a Hitler Youth academy and becomes known for his unique abilities with science and fixing radios. The readers become immersed in the life experiences of a young boy who is swept away by the political circumstances of his nation and his attempts to understand the world, himself, and the nature of individual choice vs fate.

Throw in flashbacks, powerful diction, meaningful metaphors, beautifully poetic language, as well as touching themes about the nature of life and hope, and Doerr has created one of the literary masterpieces of our time.

Truly, Doerr moves readers to “Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”

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