Even as a baby, Louis (Louie) Zamperini has always been getting mischief, either stealing someone’s things, accidentally hurting someone, or just who-knows-what! His handsome brother, Pete, is the total opposite, and he tries to help Louie overcome his troubles by encouraging him to do track. Louie’s fierce energy and determination help him to become an Olympic runner, with him almost breaking the world record. However, when World War ll suddenly bursts with America fighting Japan, Louie finds himself as an airman whose job is dropping bombs, and when his second plane crashes into the Pacific, the Olympian is stranded on a small raft, surviving afloat for 47 days, until captured by Japanese and sent to a POW camp. The camp conditions are harsh, and thousands of Americans have already died there. Added on to the fact that Louie is the favorite target of a cruel officer, will he survive and make it back to his family? Or will he die with most of his friends?
Laura Hillenbrand takes you on a flying adventure, enduring many hardships along with Louie as you realize how life really is in the war; she lets you feel the harsh and cruel experiences many men felt and lets you take in all that is said. “Unbroken” does include violence, but it really shows the war and all its effects. I especially liked that the author, when he was writing, kept in mind that his book was for middle schoolers/teens. The things that he included was just my level, for example, not too deep in vocabulary, but deep enough so that I was never close to bored.
I loved blend of humor and seriousness because it let you laugh and have fun reading, but also at the same time really think about how men felt during the war. For example, there were violent parts where people die or are tortured, but it’s not that disgusting because it was part of the war and part of life. There are also many emotions and feelings you will experience as you journey through Louie’s life’s story.
Reviewed by Carolyn, Grade 6, Twin Hickory Area Library