REVIEW OF: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

REVIEWED  BY: Rachel

Men aunbrokennd women in countries all over the world are constantly risking their lives everyday for the sake of their country. Sure, they receive medals and rewards for their sacrifices once they return home, but the scary truth is: they never truly leave the battlefield. One man’s story definitely proves that statement to be true. In Laura Hillenbrand’s, Unbroken, the heart-wrenching story of Louie Zamperini, a hardheaded veteran with an inspiring perseverance, basically sums up what most soldiers not only go through, but live through. When Louie was he child, he was quite a troublemaker; he began smoking at age five and drinking at age eight.  Louie would also steal anything edible, cakes, pies, bread; you name it, he took it. Then, after struggling through his childhood years, Louie’s perfect older brother, Pete, found something that helped Louie overcome his despicable habits: running. Louie was an inspiring runner and when he ran he was like a bird that just took flight. Suddenly, WWII broke out and the Olympics that Louie had been waiting for were canceled.  Louie, with nothing else to do, enlisted in the army.  After being in the air force, as a bombardier, for a while Louie and his crew went off on a rescue mission, only to crash in the Pacific themselves. Only three men survived the crash. After forty-seven horrendous days floating on a raft in shark infested waters, Louie and the only other living member in his crew, Phil, were captured by the Japanese. They were taken to a deadly Japanese POW camp and were treated horrifically there. Every day, Louie and the other prisoners were beaten, starved, and worked nearly to death. A sergeant from the camps, nicknamed the Bird, singled Louie out and made it is goal to destroy Louie, and he succeeded for a while. After a traumatizing experience in Japan, the surviving soldiers went home after the U.S. won the war.  For a while, Louie expressed no emotional side effects from the war, but once he got married, Louie began to drink to escape from his flashbacks. Will Louie ever turn to God and see the light, or will he succumb to the drink and destroy his life forever?

I loved Unbroken and I felt that it deserved all of the praise that it has been receiving lately. Overall, I felt that Hillenbrand gave me a good picture on what it’s like in a war camp. Before I read UnbrokenI was ignorant to what it was truly like to be a prisoner of war, and through reading about Louie’s experiences my eyes were opened to the outside world. I also thought that the figurative language and description throughout the novel gave me a vivid mental image of how Louie was being treated. When Hillenbrand used words such as “despair” and “mentally tortured,” I could clearly see what was going on.

I adored this book, so of course I would recommend it. I feel that any boy or girl of ages 12 and up would enjoy the young adult version. I do not recommend this novel to any child under the age of 12, for I strongly feel that it is way too violent and graphic for young minds. It is my hope that anyone who reads the inspiring tale of Louie Zamperini would be motivated by it and learn what it is truly like to have faith in God.