05 May 2014

All The Light We Cannot See ~ Anthony Doerr

** OK **

Left me in the dark about its rave reviews …
and the fact that it is not sold as YA fiction.

This can’t fail but to remind the reader of The Book Thief (and guess what! I wasn’t fussed about that either … but at least it was labeled as YA).

The narrative seriously sweetens the very real horrors of the war and its sentimental approach sugar coats to an extent that I found annoying, shallow and verging on offensive. It is a fairytale set in dark times (The Quest For The Stone of Immortality, with a blind princess and a dark knight and a fair amount of "happily ever after"). It had an artificial quality that walked the line between innocence and horror, never quite knowing how to present history without any real bad guys (well, maybe except for some nasty bullies at poor Werner’s school).

Characterisation was flat and stereotypical with little development to their depth by the end of the narrative. And was there really a need to follow up on all those cardboard characters at the end? Language was certainly more poetic than prosaic but not much of a reach with vocabulary or concepts.

The disjointed narrative, switching POV and timelines, did not seem to add anything but allowed the author to keep all on a superficial level. It made for a jumpy short chapter carve up of the story. The major themes of the book were a presentation of History Lite.

Ooops … I know I tend to go overboard with my love/hate passions! … Truly, I didn’t hate it … I just don’t share the love and see it a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing.