Unbroken

25 Oct

I had a discussion with my class about abridged vs unabridged versions of books. I thought about this as I read the Young Adult adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken.

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I have to admit, I was a little worried as I began reading. The sentences in the first chapter seemed awfully short to me. As I made my way throughout the book, it got better, and I wondered, was this Hillenbrand’s strategy to help young readers build background knowledge so they could access more difficult and complicated ideas later? I did a little research and found this interesting New York Times article addressing the issue of YA adaptations.

All that said, I really enjoyed this book and I think kids will, too.

Publisher’s Summary: On a May afternoon in 1943, an American military plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary sagas of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. As a boy, he had been a clever delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and stealing. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a supreme talent that carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when war came, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a sinking raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would respond to desperation with ingenuity, suffering with hope and humor, brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would hang on the fraying wire of his will.

In this captivating young adult edition of her award-winning #1 New York Timesbestseller, Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of a man’s breathtaking odyssey and the courage, cunning, and fortitude he found to endure and overcome. Lavishly illustrated with more than one hundred photographs and featuring an exclusive interview with Zamperini, Unbroken will introduce a new generation to one of history’s most thrilling survival epics.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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