<i>Unbroken</i> by Laura Hillenbrand | Teen Ink

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand MAG

October 3, 2015
By AlaNova ELITE, Naperville, Illinois
AlaNova ELITE, Naperville, Illinois
257 articles 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
Dalai Lama said, "There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called YESTERDAY and the other is called TOMORROW, so today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly live..."

From youth, Louis Zamperini was an unstoppable little crook, stealing, drinking, and terrorizing his hometown simply because he could. But his older brother recognized his churning energy could be channeled into a brighter future: running. And so Louis Zamperini trained until he became the fastest high school runner in the nation; he even had his eyes set on Olympic gold when World War II ripped across Europe. Enrolling in the Air Corps, he never imagined the trials that awaited him: being lost in the Pacific for 47 impossible days, only to be captured by the Japanese and shipped off to a POW camp. Through and through, Zamperini’s inconceivable story of resilience and fighting against all odds will resonate with readers.

Author Laura Hillenbrand manages to pull off something the best biographers do with ease: She describes events and passages of Zamperini’s life clearly yet effortlessly. As you turn the pages, you can only conclude Hillenbrand is either telepathic or she had to be there.

Unbroken encompasses one man’s incredible journey through unimaginable circumstances, WWII in its very essence, and the 1939 Olympics. In that sense, the novel can only be crowned a true epic, reverberating at the personal level as much as the bigger picture.

But Zamperini’s story isn’t clean cream, either. In telling the story of a man who would be heralded later in life as “the greatest man in America,” Hillenbrand doesn’t ignore his flaws. Zamperini’s humanity culminates in his inner strength and will to live, as much as it does in his rage at being dehumanized by his prison camp arch enemy, Mutsuhiro Watanabe “The Bird.”

Survival also isn’t given a simple cut. The slavery and torture Zamperini endured stayed with him long after he was freed. Years of PTSD added to his list of indescribable obstacles. So we can only cheer at the top of our lungs as Zamperini dashed over the finish line, shaping history and smashing records. He will forever remain unbroken. 

The author's comments:

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