As most of you are aware by now, I’m a huge fan of WWII fiction. Some of my most memorable reads include All the Light You Cannot See, The Nightingale, The Alice Network, and Elie Wiesel’s Night. All of those books have told incredible stories that will stay with me. But I will tell you… this WWII novel is not like anything else I’ve read.
Here’s a quick synopsis: It’s 1939 in a small dutch town, and the Koopman family are the owners of a lightbulb factory. Jacob and Edwin, and their parents are watching as their town, their factory, and the world starts to change with the looming war. Their father decides to send the boys to a German youth camp as Hitler is coming into power. From here you see young Jacob feel torn on what is the right thing to do, and just what side of the war is whom he belongs with.
This impressive debut novel is an emotional ride, from a different perspective. This is the exact reason why it’s different from most WWII fiction. It told the side of the German soldier’s and how they were groomed for the War. I find that most WWII novels just focus on what terrible beings the Nazi’s were, forgetting that they were people too just fighting to live each day. All the Light We Cannot See also did a great job of this. A great thing about this book is the small moments of empathy for strangers that were highlighted. That the small act of kindness that you may have possibly shown someone is a reminder that better days will come.
It is the little stories of our day that hold the only things of value in this world.
It is obvious to that Murphy put an extreme amount of research went into this book. I quickly formed an emotional connection with Jacob and could sympathize with being so torn about what to do. The only thing that fell flat for me was the ending, I felt like I just needed to do more. But on further thought, maybe this was intentional. Do we ever really know how things are going turn out? I don’t think so… I think we just live each day in hopes that the next comes and that it is a good one.
So, all in all, I really liked this fast paced, well researched novel. If you like any of the other titles I mentioned, you will LOVE this book.
Until next time, happy reading!