Broken over Unbroken

b 29Oh my gosh…. I just….I can’t even…..
How in the world can I write a review on this book? My reviews are not really reviews anyway, just me rambling on about what I thought about the story. And most of you know all about it anyway. This book has absolutely gotten all over me. It has weighed on me, stirred in me and invaded my thoughts for hours at a time. I cannot adequately express the profound impact it has had on me. So, instead of trying to summarize or analyze the book, I’m just going to list here, in “Top Ten” fashion, my thoughts, my feelings and some stuff I learned.

One.  I’m crap. For real. My simple, all-I-have-to-worry-about-is-the-education-of-my-children and what’s-for-dinner-life is nothing but pleasure and simplicity compared to what Louie and so many others have endured. I’m not saying my life doesn’t matter, I know it does, but my trials and concerns are not even worth mentioning compared to the life Louie lived.
In comparison, I suck.

Two. I don’t think about killing people. (I promise). But reading this book opened up a part in me that made me wonder if I had the capacity to do it. I was just waiting and hoping for someone to come along and kill this horrible monster I was reading about. I am still filled with hate for this man who isn’t even alive anymore.

Three. A chocolate bar can be divided into 700 slivers.

Four. Laura Hillenbrand is a boss! “A beast”, my sons would say. (This is a high complement). Not only did she compose the most compelling story I have ever read, she did it while suffering a great deal with her own, severe at times, illness. The adjustments and accommodations she made in her life to get her writing done is worthy of note and recognition. I’ve always wanted to write a book. I now have no excuse for not doing it.

Five. A lot went on in World War ll that wasn’t in Europe.

Six. There are kind people everywhere. Even in the middle of Hell on earth.

Seven. I’m heart-broken that Louie Zamperini died last year. I know we don’t live forever but I might have liked to write to him, or something, after learning so much about him. I am looking forward to meeting him in Heaven.

Eight. More required reading has come to my boys. I would even pay them to read it. It’s that good, and that important.

Nine. Best line ever: “Louie wasn’t the first guy to be felled by Cynthia. Dense forests of men had gone down at the sight of her.” Now, who wouldn’t want that said about them?

Ten. I know this is intense, maybe even melodramatic, but honestly…I feel a little bit guilty about moving on to another book. Really. Like, if I start reading something else then I’m over this one. And I don’t want to forget what I’ve read-even though so much of it is hard knowledge to have. Yes, I’ll start another book, but it still feels a little wrong.

Unbroken has been around for a while. (Five years?) And in typical fashion, I am always playing catch-up in my reading. If you have read this one, I’d love to know your thoughts. Well, only if you loved it. If you didn’t like it, I don’t think I could bear it right now.:)

4 thoughts on “Broken over Unbroken

  1. This is all well put. Yes I agree. Unbroken is quite an extraordinary story. The Bird killed me in the book, so sadistic. It’s amazing that Louis Zamperini could forgive but that is what he did. It’s one that stays with you.

  2. Thoughts and observations in no particular order
    One. Dangit.Why don’t I read biographies more often?
    Two. I have a BA in History with a concentration in US and a 2 semester honors project on WWII. Which translates into: “I’ve read a lot of books about Pacific theatre, WWII and most of them are dry and hard to follow.” On the other hand, I think I could teach this book (with a good map) (which, btw, should have been included in the book) and call it “Pacific Theatre WWII: A Soldier’s View” for a semester of high school credit. This is what Charlotte Mason calls a Living Book. It teaches through narrative and sticks with you because it is alive.
    Three. The candy bar in 700 slivers was my favorite part. I was SO HAPPY for them. But more than that, how did they preserve the humanity to patiently share that candy bar instead of kill for it? Amazing.
    Four. You never know when Billy Graham is just gonna pop up in a story.
    Five. Why do I read non-fiction self improvement books when narratives like this teach and inspire so powerfully?
    Six. Yes, I have already assigned this book to my teenager.
    Seven. This book gives lots of insight into how mental outlook effects physical health. Fascinating that Louie and Phil could intentionally play mind games in order to preserve themselves on the raft.
    Eight. Likewise, this story teaches so much about the power of forgiveness, and how unforgiveness will eat you alive.
    Nine. And I love the hope this story gives to Moms of mischievous little boys (or even delinquent big boys). Sometimes you just gotta hang in there and they turn out as fine young men.
    Ten. I really hate that I had to miss my book club meeting about Unbroken!

  3. Thanks for the best blog comment EVER.:)
    And if you teach that class…there is a REAL good chance I’ll have a kid in there.
    If you and I are ever stuck on a raft for 40-something days, let’s be sure to play mind games, and give verbal book reviews often.
    Love point #9.

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