Tuesday, January 27, 2015

All the Light We Cannot See: I've Had Just About Enough


I really never intended for my thoughts on All the Light We Cannot See to become a continuing series.  But the more I read of the book, and the harder it gets to keep pushing through it, the more I wish I had never started it at all.  Let's just say that the wait was, in this case, not worth it.

I am on page 383 now, with something like another 147 pages to go.  And there you have both the good news and the bad (too much reading time invested to quit on it now). The author continues to present his plot in snippets, during which I have often spoken aloud the words "just get on with it, please."  But, no, that's not the way this one works, and that makes me wonder about the editing process that "All the Light" went through before publication. I do realize that Mr. Doerr worked on the manuscript for ten years, but reading the book should not feel like a decade's work...what year is it now, anyway?

As the author flashes back from the present (August 1944) to events four years earlier, and then back to the childhoods of both characters in 1934 and later, I am getting a feeling of "overkill."  This feeling probably explains why I still don't much care about the book's two main characters, a German boy and a French girl, despite the fact that, different as they are, they seem to be headed to a very unpleasant meeting in the very near future.

At the moment, both are in grave danger of dying before that meeting ever takes place (if it does).  And, except as an intellectual exercise, I really don't care if either of them lives another five pages.  I hate it when I feel as if I'm wasting my time on a book...if Doerr is going to save this one for me he's down to less than 150 pages to get the job done.


  1. I've wondered about this one, but I think I'll give it a pass. :)

    1. Jenclair,, the last thing I want to do is scare anyone away from the book. It seems to be a rave or a favorite of the year type book with at least 80% of the people who get their hands on it, including critics for major newspapers around the country.

      But for me, it's been a real chore to get through it. I'm finally to the point where the German boy sets eyes on the French girl for the first time (about 105 pages to go) and I'm hoping it sucks me into their world a little more than has happened to this point. Dry, dry, dry...

  2. Too bad the book turned out to be a dud for you. I've not read it and not sure I want to in spite of all the buzz. Or perhaps it is because of all the buzz I don't want to read it. I hope the final pages at least go by fast.

    1. I don't like the "Dan Brownish" chapters of 2 or 3 pages each, but they do make the book read relatively quickly, I'll say that for them.

      I should know better than to jump on something so almost universally popular as this book...setting myself up for failure with it almost every time.