Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way


100 Books While 40: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Book: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Published: 2014

How many times can someone starve? I am just wondering, because Louis Zamporini starts off his trip to the Japanese POW camp at less than one hundred pounds. And yet he loses another 20 pounds at least 5 or 6 times before is rescue. By my calculation Zamporini, while there are many remarkable things about the man, shockingly survived a weight of zero pounds.

Added to his miraculous weight loss, he also survived brushes with death. He barely survived it when his first plane was shot up. He barely survived when the plane nearly crashed due to holes shot through the gas tank. He barely survived when they crash landed on the deck of a air craft carrier. He barely survived when his next plan was shot down. He released his ankle in the wreckage nearly missing drowning. In his barely conscience haze after surfacing he managed to swim after and capture two life boats. He barely survived dehydration. He barely survived starvation. He barely survived insanity while lost at see. He barely survived being shot at by a Japanese plane. He barely survived circling sharks. He barely survived circling sharks attacking simultaneously with a different Japanese plane. He barely survived drowning or becoming shark food when the life rafts where shot through with bullets.  We aren’t even into the Japanese prison camp yet.

When I finally put the book down, I noticed that my empathy account was overdrawn by decades. The last twenty pages giddily wrap up the book with Louis’s conversion to Christianity, as though this is some remedy for the last 980 pages of smothering misery. It was not.

The unabridged version of this book could be improved with a thesaurus. Really, it could have used more imaginative prose. Really really, the unabridged version could have not existed at all. Or maybe someone with less talent for turning a fascinating story and an honorable man into a book painful to slog through should have authored it.