After reading an engrossing fictional novel, it can be easy to forget that the characters aren’t real people. In Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand’s unique writing combined with Louie Zamperini’s incredible journey leaves the reader so wrapped up in the plot that they forget it’s a true story.
Hillenbrand, who also wrote Seabiscuit, is a bestselling nonfiction writer. Her book Unbroken tells the story of Louie Zamperini, an Olympic runner, and prisoner of war survivor. This book is a worthwhile read because of Zamperini’s epic life experiences and Hillenbrand’s expert writing style.
Brief summary:Hillenbrand doesn’t just regurgitate facts about what Louie Zamperini goes through; it feels as if she is along for the ride as she narrates his journey. During the time that Louie is left stranded at sea, Hillenbrand recounts his experiences:Louie found the raft offered an unlikely intellectual refuge. He had never recognized how noisy the civilized world was. Here, drifting in almost total silence, with no scents other than the singed odor of the raft, no flavors on his tongue, nothing moving but the slow procession of shark fins, every vista empty save water and sky, his time unvaried and unbroken, his mind was freed of an encumbrance that civilization had imposed on it. In his head, he could roam anywhere, and he found that his mind was quick and clear, his imagination unfettered and supple. He could stay with a thought for hours, turning it about.
(Hillenbrand 173-174) The imagery Hillenbrand uses to portray Louie’s musings and environment go beyond average, textbook descriptions in nonfiction written work. Hillenbrand’s writing style takes extensive research and later breathes it to life by incorporating the different senses. This enables the reader to actually experience a part of Louie’s history, not simply read about what had transpired. Hillenbrand’s writing allows Louie’s exceptional tale to become developed without losing it’s raw and powerful message.
With everything Louie encounters, he endures as many tests to the human spirit that one could possibly stand, keeping a quick pace and fitting the general subject of the book. With several different trials, this makes Louie’s account standout from different books and furthermore keeps up the tension all through the book with its quick pace. All of Louie’s battles contribute towards the focal topic of perseverance; that after every trial he is left weaker and yet still has hope. Conclusion:Unbroken is a study of resilience and mental toughness.
For as diversely prolific as Louie was, his story would appeal to the athlete, to the independent, to the strong-willed, or to the individuals who seek to be any of those things. The ruthless retelling of his difficulties from youth to prisoner of war influences the reader to admire, marvel, and cheer for Louie’s triumphs. This book is the kind of memorable book that will stay with the reader long after reading the last page.