Saturday, July 5, 2014

His Independence Day Came Early ~ Louis Zamperini, 1.26.17 – 7.2.14

 The past couple of weeks I've been itching to write a review of Unbroken

We have some avid readers on Bran's baseball team (the parents, not the players), and earlier this summer a friend suggested I read Unbroken. Actually, she said I needed to read Unbroken.

Somehow I missed this book, despite its tenure of more than 165 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, fourteen at number one.

Thank you, Laura Hillenbrand, for introducing me to Louie Zamperini through your seven-plus years of research, and then bridging my friendship with him through carefully crafting words to frame his remarkable story.

After the high recommendation from my fellow baseball mom, I bought Unbroken for Corbin for Father's day. When Amazon delivered it a week prior to the holiday, I hid the book jacket in a drawer and read it myself. I couldn't put it down. Even during our whirlwind trip to NYC, I snuck in reading time late at night while everyone else slept.

One night, back home in bed as I read the very last couple of chapters, I sat up in bed and exclaimed, "No way!"
"What?! asked Corbin. "What did Louie do now?"
He hadn't read Unbroken yet, but at that point I wasn't able to keep it a secret that I'd stolen his Father's Day gift.
"I can't tell you! But this is AMAZING!"
"What do you mean you can't tell me? You sit straight up in bed and yell out, and you can't tell me what happened?"
"Corbin, promise me, you'll read this. If I die, take care of the kids. Buy them each a bottle of my perfume to remember me. And read this book."

So there you go.
My highest recommendation. 

I also gave Unbroken to Cappy and Papa for Father's Day, both veterans and lovers of rich stories. I had the most fun getting their texts and emails over the next couple of weeks.

"What's Louie doing now?" I'd ask.
"Running in his first Olympics race."
"Still stranded on that raft."
And on our texts went.

Papa emailed me last week, "Just finished Unbroken. What a wild ride! I think I felt every emotion possible. WOW what a great read. Thank you!"

I greeted the morning last Thursday to a text from my dad, himself a marine pilot, "Louie is really free today."
I immediately pulled up Fox News to read that Louie Zamporini died the day before after a battle with pneumonia.
Later that afternoon, when Papa heard the news, he emailed me, "Wow. Feel like I lost a friend."


I'm mourning - but in a grateful way - along with millions who fell in love with this great man over reading his story.

For Louie, his incredible story of suffering, redemption and forgiveness came to a full crescendo last week as his eternal freedom came ringing. Praise God for this example of grit, perseverance, and beauty through Louie's life.

Unbroken, the film, directed by Angelina Jolie, is set to release this Christmas. Please read the book beforehand.
Among my highest recommendations.
Free, indeed.