Monday, April 4, 2011

Book Review

For the last week and a half or so I have had my nose tucked into a book as often as time permitted.  I love to read.  I am addicted to reading.  No, I am literally addicted to reading.  Back in my college days I had to stay away from the library or else I would read books and forsake things like homework.  My favorite Spring Break activity (No Rocky Point for me!) was to go to the library, bring home a tall stack of books, and read for a week.   

I love to read mystery books, Agatha Christie,  Mary Higgins Clark, etc.  I have read all of the books in the Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan.  (The newest book in this series comes out on April 16th!)  I have also read all of the Harry Potter books, and yes, Twilight.  All of these books are fun, but I also love to read nonfiction.  I become deeply affected by nonfiction works.  After reading Unearthing Atlantis: An Archeological Odyssey to the Fabled Lost Civilization, I was unable to watch Dante's Peak (you know, the silly volcano movie where the grandmother dies but the dog survives) without sobbing.   While reading The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge, I was heartbroken as John Roebling died of lockjaw.  (David McCullough"s description of this disease is truly terrifying.)  My newest reading is one of these great nonfiction works.  It is a stunning biography of Louis Zamperini written by Laura Hillenbrand (of Seabiscuit fame).  This book is titled Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption



I was a huge fan of Seabiscuit so when I heard that Laura Hillenbrand was writing a new book I knew that I had to read it.  I got on the waiting list at my library and waited for nearly 2 months for it to become available.  When it finally arrived, I took a deep breath and dove in.

Louis Zamperini  was a juvenile delinquent, an Olympic athlete, and a war hero.  He survived a plane crash and floated for 47 days and over 2,000 miles on a rubber life raft (with two other men) all the while fighting off sharks, collecting rainwater to drink, and catching food (birds, fish, and even sharks) with his bare hands to survive.  As his raft was finally coming ashore on a tropical island, it was spotted by Japanese soldiers and Zamperini spent the remainder of WWII in a series Japanese POW camps.  This is where and when the truly horrifying events begin.

Laura Hillenbrand has written a memorably stirring book.  I am not the same person I was when I began reading this book.  My problems and challenges are paltry, miniscule in comparison.  This book is not a piece of fluff that can be lightly tossed aside once the cover is closed.  It is an emotionally stirring work that will leave you a changed person too but in a good way.  Read it today (or whenever you can get it at the library)!
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