This is only my second book this month, because I thought I’d stay with adult fiction while I am at it … but it takes forever? It doesn’t even really have something to do with the stories. I don’t feel like the writing is THAT much different either, but still, it takes me about three times as long to finish those books.
Starting this book, I knew exactly what I was getting into. I might have even expected for it to be MORE tragic than it was. The blurb says it all, there is no good solution as to how Tom and Izzy could have handled this, unless, of course, they hadn’t gotten into the mess in the first place. I had a lot of doubts and questions about them when they kept the baby. Why wouldn’t they report it and then adopt the kid if there was no mother? Why didn’t they consider adopting in general? But as soon as those thoughts came to mind, they were answered with some semblance of reason. I want to say straight up that I do not condone what they did at all, but by the end of the book, you kind of understand them?
The Light Between Oceans has a quiet yet impacting way of telling this particular story. Years pass at a time, nothing happens at all, while everything monumental is happening. I know that sounds contradictory, but so much of everything went on inside people, while they carried on (or at least tried to as best as they could) their regular lives. You get so many perspectives, you hear everyone’s side and it’s a terrifying dilemma. My main problem with the book was that I did not like any of the characters. However, that didn’t stop me from feeling for them. My heart was torn in several directions, because I wouldn’t know what to do either. Some things can’t be fixed and people just have to live with the consequences of their actions.
The whole thing is set in Australia of the 1920s and that was an interesting era to choose. It makes sense of course, everything is heightened with the lack of communication, the remoteness, the slow passing of time. I never knew how much importance and trust was put upon lightkeepers, somehow lighthouses just always had a much more romantic place in my heart rather than their actual purposeful one. Somehow the book just started to click for me when the backstory of the baby’s biological father was a bit more explored. The man was from Austria, but generally perceived as a German (feel ya there man) and at that time, that was one of the worst things to be. People humiliated and excluded him at every turn, simply for having that heritage. (They wouldn’t even let him buy books!!! Because German poems were the devil’s work of course …) They blamed him for the war, never mind that he was neither part of it nor present at that time. All through that he stayed polite and optimistic … So, I guess I related the most to the one person that played the smallest role in the book. Maybe the rest of the story and the positions were a bit too grown up for me to fully connect with, even though my mind could rationally see why it was heartbreaking. But being a person who gets asked if her grandparents were Nazis and then having to carry on a normal conversation as if that hadn’t just been one of the rudest things to ask, I guess that just made me relate to him the most.
Anyway, to conclude this review, I just want to say that the movie came out this year, starring Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender in the leading roles. They are two of my favourite actors, so I would like to give the movie a try, hoping they’ll make the characters more likable.
Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! I had trouble liking the characters, but I could still feel with them in their dilemma.
Have you read this book? Have you seen the movie? Let me know your thoughts!