Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Audiobook Review: Unbroken

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Publisher: Random House Audio
Release Date: November 16th 2010
Format: Audiobook narrated by Edward Herrmann
My Rating: ★1/2

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On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.

Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he'd been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.
Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man's journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.
I will admit it, the only reason that I picked this book up is because I wanted to see the movie, and I am one of those people that needs to read the book first. Going into this, I did not realize that this was non-fiction. I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but I found that the way the author told Zamperini's story made me kind of forget this was a real person. I mean he had such a large personality, I kind of forgot that this was a true story.

This book is hard to read, especially when you remember that all of these horrors actually happened. Once Louis is in the prisoner of war camp that is when the book was a little hard for me to swallow. POWs face a lot of horrors during war, and World War II has to have been the hardest.

At times I do think there was a little too much exposition in this narrative. I understand that it was important to explain to us Louie's olympic status, but I feel like there was way too much introduction in the beginning of this book. I also think I would have preferred this book to end when he returned home from war. I understand that the author wanted to show the aftermath of what happened to soldiers after they returned from war, but I felt like the end kept dragging on. It also was a little too depressing for me, so I just wanted to book to be over.

I don't think I would have enjoyed this book as much had I just read it. There is something about Edward Herrmann's historical narration that has always drawn me. He used to do a lot of narration for the history channel when I was a kid, and I usually found his voice made me interested in the subject. So if you are not sure about reading this fictional book, I would highly suggest trying the audio.

Happy Reads Everyone!