Saturday, January 22, 2011
Laura Hillenbrand, UNBROKEN
Holy cow, this one is heartbreaking. Hillenbrand brings the same sort of energy, the same strong plot arc as she drew for SEABISCUIT, to the life of Louie Zamperini, one-time Olympic runner, bombardier on a B-24 in WWII, and survivor of Japanese POW camps. When his plane goes down in the Pacific, he and two other men float for 47 days on a poorly equipped liferaft, with sharks circling. Then he's taken to one horrifyingly inhumane Japanese camp after another, persecuted by a sadist called "the Bird." At times, I had to skip paragraphs and go back to them after I read ahead to find out how he survived. By page 200, I was jumping ahead to the end of the book. Ultimately, it's a story of courage and forgiveness, of letting go the desire for revenge that, left to itself, can bind us to our pasts. But be prepared to stay up half the night reading it. Or wake up in the middle of the night needing to finish it. Yes, it's 4:30 a.m. in Arizona.