I’m no war buff and my ancestor’s were not all that involved in WW2 (i.e. they didn’t go overseas). It has been a while since I’ve read anything pertaining to the war (the last being In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin) and usually when I do it is more often than not from the perspective – fictionally or not – of a surviving Jew.
This book splits attention between Werner, a small boy with conflicted feelings about being part of the Hitler Youth, and of Marie Laure, a blind girl caught in the middle of the occupation of Saint-Malo. They each live very different lives, always trying to do what they feel is right, but mostly trying to navigate the crazed world they live in.
The structure of the chapters was something I found brilliant and refreshing, often only a page or two in length, if only for the fact that it only left room for perfect and concise thoughts, always leaving you wanting more, that always had you turning pages. It is a perfect book for a commuter, never leaving you in the middle of chapter or thought.
The story travels, not too often, between the beginning of these character’s stories and the ending of the war.
The words on the page are brilliantly composed. The book, itself, is such a joy to read that it almost will catch you off guard when the sad events inevitably occur.