Let me first start with an embarrassing confession: I’ve been doing some major slacking on my intended 2014 reading list, like, major slacking (See A new year, new books.).
So this past winter I scanned the list of worthy titles and landed on “Unbroken”, now anybody with even a partial foot in the literary world already knows all about this book. The legendary story of Louis Zamperini, the man who met hitler at the Olympics, only to eventually fight against him, live on a raft for 40+ days, and then survive the torment of three years in a Japanese POW camp. You know, that classic fairy tale.
Around the time I picked up (or rather downloaded) the book I was feeling a bit broken myself. I was suffering from classic heartbreak, admitting that makes me feel both terribly dramatic and awkwardly honest, both of which I hate. It wasn’t necessarily one thing in particular. I was feeling crummy about a few things that hadn’t gone my way. Sometimes life is just crummy that way.
So there I was, manically depressed and reading about one of the most horrible events in human history. Perfect combination for a “Girl, Interrupted-esque” suicide, right? Wrong. This book gave me hope…and a great deal of perspective.
The account of Louis Zamperini’s life reminded me of both the fragility and power of my own. I felt as though I lived with him, is his mind and in his heart. I think that’s what makes this book so special to those who read it. Laura Hillenbrand writes so effortlessly, it’s as if blood is pumping through the pages.
Needless to say, I highly recommend this. It’s one of the best. If you read only one book this year, read “Unbroken”.
If that didn’t convince you, Angelina Jolie is directing the screen adaptation and you know that woman is gold.
Only a few short days after posting this review Louis Zamperini died at the age of 97. He lived a bold and triumphant life, rest in peace.