I can’t afford to buy brand-new books these days, and certainly not hardcovers (unless Alice Munro publishes a new book, in which case I am at the bookstore the day it is released.) But I made an exception for the new Laura Hillenbrand book, Unbroken. It was my early Christmas gift.
By just a few pages in, I was itching to tell you about it – yeah, it’s that fantastic. This true story is a sports story, and a war story, and an adventure story, all rolled into one. And it’s the most incredible survival story I ever expect to read, as long as I live.
All the usual adjectives fall short: unbelievable, harrowing, devastating, triumphant. If there is one book I’ve read this year that makes me want to grab you by the collar and insist, “Get your hands on this book,” this is it.
You can find an excerpt of Unbroken in Vanity Fair. But here’s a re-cap of the whole thing, because I want you to know this story even if you don’t read the book. (If you already plan to read the book, and you don’t want to know the ending, stop reading now!)
In the 1920’s, a small boy named Louis Zamperini was growing up in California and giving his Italian-American parents a run for their money. From the beginning, their son showed no fear and no restraint. He pulled pranks, he stole, he sabotaged, he set fires, he made messes, he got in trouble with the law. Fueling his mischief was his huge optimism; he always believed he could squirm out of any sticky situation. Continue reading