Review of: Unbroken (young adult version,) by Laura Hillenbrand

Reviewer: Bella



“He could have run away, but he refused to bend.” He stands in the boiling sun. Arms aching, heart racing. Refusing to be broken by the monster that has held him in unbreakable chains. Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand relays the heartbreaking and triumphant true story of Louis Zamperini. At a young age, Louie was a criminal, stealing and then swiftly running away from the police. He did this day after day, gaining the recognition that he so desperately craved. Pete, Louie’s older brother, saw some thing in Louie, other than being a juvenile delinquent. Pete focused Louie on track, Louie became stronger and ran many races, often winning first. When he was older, he signed himself up for the Berlin Olympics, left his hometown of Torrance, Italy and came home winning seventh place. Louie was content with his determination during the race, and signed up for another olympics. After the olympics were cancelled, Louie enlisted in the army to become a bombardier. Louie became a bombardier on Hawaii and met many friends, one of whom was the pilot on the B-24 plane that Louie flew on who was named Phil. While Louie was on a rescue mission, the B-24 that he was on along with Phil and other crewman, crashed into the violent ocean. Only three men survived the crash: Louie, Phil, and Mac. After 47 days of floating in the ocean, shark attacks, starvation, and devastation, Louie and Phil are approached what appeared to be an island. As they got closer to the “island” they realized that it was a Japanese ship.

Louie and Phil were loaded onto the ship, taken as POWs, Prisoner of Wars. Louie and Phil were taken to many POW camps, one of which Louie meets the monster that will haunt his dreams. The monster is Mutsuhiro Wantanabe, nicknamed the Bird. The Bird beats Louie senseless and without mercy. The Bird strips Louie of his dignity and leaves him afraid. Finally America comes to rescue the POWs and Louie is relieved. Louie comes home and is a nightmare. He married a girl named Cynthia and begins to use alcohol to solve his problems, but it doesn’t, it only makes things more difficult. After years of struggling, Cynthia takes Louie to see the preacher Billy Graham. Louie realizes that his life is not in the right place an it is not going in the right direction. Can Louie grow close with God and reinvent the relationship that they have never had?

Unbroken was a beautiful novel that showed someone who was robbed of everything, then gained back anything that was lost.  At certain parts, I was viciously reading, wanting to know Louie’s outcome. This book taught me lessons such as: to depend on Jesus, perseverance, and determination. I felt close to the characters and loved most of their personalities because Hillenbrand’s description is so vivid.  I enjoyed Louie’s walk to faith and the effect that it had on him. I believe that this book could bring others to Christ an I recommend reading this masterpiece. Louie’s story truly is triumphant and it is inspiring as a christian.

I recommend Unbroken to students sixth and above. My reasoning for this is because of the intensity of Louie’s situation is too mature for younger students. When I first saw this book, I thought that it was about airplanes, but the story that lies inside of it is truly wonderful. I believe that everyone will take something away from this novel.