All the Night We Cannot See is this beloved book by many people, has amazing ratings on Amazon (click the link above), and won the Pulitzer Prize, which I think means someone important like the book. And you probably think I'm crazy for only giving it 2.5 stars; well, I tried my best but I truly couldn't appreciate the book.
For those of you unaware of the plot of this New York Times bestseller, it's about two competing stories of youths during World War 2. One, a blind French girl, removed from her home and the other, a teenage boy who joins the German ranks due to his fantastic skills working with radios. And this is basically where my malaise began. While both characters are interesting, and the author certainly does more than enough to round them out and make the reader connect with them, I found them boring. Certainly, I appreciate their challenges and plights (as much as one can with fictional characters). But really, I found them both quite slow to develop.
Now, don't get me wrong, the telling of the story really is quiet beautiful and I'm not ignorant enough to not understand why this book has won awards, but it just didn't do well against my ranking system, which is mostly based on entertainment value to me. I certainly appreciate the authors well created and thought-out to descriptions of scene after scene after scene, but I just couldn't get myself that excited about picking up the book and reading it.
Another thing that troubled me was how sad the book was. And unlike, the Nightingale, pretty much right from the start, this book depressed me. While I understand that World War 2 is ripe for good narratives and fictional works, it's become tiresome to me. That, perhaps, may also be why I did not enjoy this book as much. Not more than a month ago I finished the Nightingale, which I enjoyed more than this, but the book were so very similar. Both are similar settings and time periods, both have a few different characters who are written about and go back and forth in taking the lead and both books skipped between time periods. By the way, what's with that in books now? I feel like every book I read starts with almost the ending of the story, goes back and tells the story while sprinkling in parts from the future, gets to the ending (which we already knew about) and then finishes with a bit more new information. Certainly both this book and The Nightingale followed that schedule.
So, I totally get why people like this book and I did enjoy many parts of it. The writer is very strong and the story, while glacially slow, was interesting and worth reading about. Certainly, all the people who enjoy this book can't be wrong, just know what you're getting into.