Unbroken (Adapted for Young Adults)
By Laura Hillenbrand
New York: Delacorte Press, 2014
YA Grades 7 and Up Pages 299
Well the movie by the same name, Unbroken, has stirred up some real interest in the book. (Yay!) I read in one day the young adult version and I am torn about going to see the movie. Although the book was riveting it was at times difficult to read!
It is a heartbreaking story from start to finish! A restless Italian young boy, who did not quite fit in because he did not have a command of the language started to look for notoriety in all the wrong places–lying, stealing, and fighting. But lucky for Louie Zamperini his older brother, Pete never gave up on him and steered his energy towards running. Louie could run–fast! He went to the controversial 1936 Olympics and became an Olympian from Torrance, California.
This book does a great job of telling just the highlights of historical events so that students will not get bored but will have background knowledge to understand what was going on at the time. Louie Zamperini joined the army but served as a gunner with the airforce. Author, Laura Hillenbrand, quickly establishes bonds of friendship between the members of B-24 Green Hornet Crew and Louie. When their plane goes down you are silently hoping that the crew is spared but only three survive the crash. The retelling of floating a drift for 47 days in a life raft with no provisions is unbelievable but not as unbelievable as being held captive by the Japanese.
I think I can give this book to mature 7th graders and up! It reads like a fiction novel but the truth is much more compelling–don’t miss this outstanding non-fiction novel. Read the book–then see the movie!
So I finished the book on Sunday and then on Monday we went to Lackland Air Base with my daughter and son-in-law and got to see a B-24 up close and personal which made the book even more real–here’s the picture…