Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand


DownloadedFile-4My husband, the non-reader, was given an iPod Touch for Christmas and has embraced audio books, hooray!  His first book on the iPod was Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  I read Unbroken with my book club last fall, so I was excited to be able to discuss it with him and get his impressions of it.

For those who don’t know, Unbroken is an amazing true account of the life of Louis Zamparini, a man in his 90s who was, among other things, a scrappy kid from Torrance, CA,  a student at USC, an Olympic runner, a WWII bombardier, a plane crash survivor who spent more than 40 days floating in the Pacific Ocean on a tiny raft, a POW in Japan, an alcoholic, a born again Christian, and a motivational speaker.  He met Hitler during the 1936 Olympics and met Billy Graham after the war.  I liken him to Forrest Gump.

Let’s just say I enjoyed the book much more than my husband did.  I was so surprised!  I mean, it’s a war book and a survivor book, guys like that stuff, right?!  But he felt it was too long and that there were just way waaaaay too many details about everything.  Details about planes, about weather, about the ocean, about the sky, about maggots in the food, about starvation and bodily functions.  Details about running and training and school.  Most of his annoyance, though, had to do with the abuse Louis Zamparini endured in the Japanese POW camps.  He felt that, if it were accurate, nobody could possibly survive it and live to tell about it.  He wondered if perhaps it was exaggerated, and we talked about memory and how a man in his 90s could recall in such great detail what had happened to him decades before.  I admit I wondered if there was some exaggeration in the book, too, but by all accounts the author did flawless research.  And, the old dude is sharp, even now!!  We watched an interview with him on youtube and he’s got to be the most with-it *nonagenarian ever (*that’s an old dude in his 90s, in case you don’t know that word).

The old dude

The old dude

Anyway, I’m just giddy that I was able to have an actual book discussion with my actual husband.  Friends, this has NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!  Hopefully it’s the start of a trend.

Does anyone have any good recommendations for my husband’s next audio book?  He hates accents of any kind, so the narrator must speak American English.  No Brits.  Leave me a comment if you know of a good one.  I don’t listen to audio books so I’m not sure what’s good to listen to.  He likes history, action, adventure, and anything that would be motivational/positive thinking (you can perhaps see why I thought Unbroken would be perfect for him?!)  Thanks for any suggestions you can offer!

11 Responses

  1. That’s great that you’re finally getting to share books with your husband! Mine surprisingly joined the book club Serena put together…all it took was a Nook Tablet to get him to enjoy reading. Go figure!

    • Hi Anna! That’s fantastic! My husband has never been a reader. He’s dyslexic and finds it difficult. But he loves stories, and audio books seem to be the answer. How fun that your husband joined your book club! Not sure I’d want my husband to join mine… LOL

  2. I read the book and listened to it too and it bored me. The parts in the boat were the most interesting.

    • It bored my mother, too. And she’s a history major! She had the same issues as my husband – too much detail. I don’t know, I found it interesting and really inspiring.

  3. I loved this book on audio. You know, a good “man” audio is going to be different than one for a woman, but would really recommend the Steve Jobs biography. That has a universal appeal I think and the narrator does a great job. Another one that pretty much blew me away and would appeal to a man is “11/22/63”. It is long, but flipping amazing.

  4. Here’s a little tidbit for you. When the author interviewed him, he admitted to not remembering much. I believe that is what the lady in my book club said and that the author admitted to embellishing a bit. That blew it for me.

  5. I thought this was a book guys would love too, but after reading Ti’s comment, I’m wondering if I want to read it. I was going to suggest 11/22/63 on audio like Sandy – my husband and I had a great discussion about it.

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