The book we read in Book Club for the month of February was Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.
It's a true story and so, so good!
The story is about Louie Zamperini who grew up in California, had a bit of a trouble childhood but as a teenager he started running. And holy moly did he run!! He ended up breaking all kinds of state and country records and eventually went to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He shook Hitler's hand...creeeepy! He ended up traning again for the 1940 Olympics which were supposed to be held in Tokyo. However, WWII broke out and Japan backed out of hosting the Olympics. They were then supposed to be held in Finland but also because of WWII the Olympics never happened. Louie ended up being drafted and becoming a bombardier (the guy who actually drops the bombs out of the planes) in the US Army.
Around page 100ish the book got a little slow. I think it was because they went out on a mission and I was expecting the plane to crash. The book opens with a scene of Louie stranded in the Pacific ocean. That didn't happen for a little while though and I just had so much anticipation!
Then it happened, the plane crashed and I don't want to give any major spoilers but let me say this...punching sharks! This man punches sharks!! The amount of time he is stranded in the Pacific ocean is unbelievable. I had to remind myself multiple times that I was reading a true story.
Eventually he ends up in POW camps and is transferred to a few different ones. The things that man, and all the men endured at the hands of their Japanese captures made me cry. Multiple times I was reading this book at night and crying or getting choked up.
When the war is declared over and Louie returns home, the war isn't actually over for him. The post traumatic stress and the horrors that haunt him was so overwhelming. He turns to drinking to try and drown out the war.
At book club Liz told us that this book has some controversy behind it because people believe it to be propaganda. At the end Louie turns to God and is saved by Billy Graham, the evangelical preacher (you've probably seen him on TV.) I do not believe this book to be any sort of propaganda, this is just what happened to Louie. It never once says that everyone needs to live their life for God and all that. Louie lives well into his 90s and doing all sorts of crazy things in his old age! Skiing, skateboarding and gets back into running. He ran the Olympic torch in 1984 past one of the now destroyed POW camps he was enslaved at.
I highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars!