I had been itching for some non-fiction, and had read nothing but kudos for Laura Hillenbrand’s book. Had I not finally scored a copy at the library, it was my next “must buy” at the book store. I’m so glad I finally got my hands on it — read the book in less than 24 hours. Hillenbrand does an excellent — EXCELLENT — job taking this story, the life of an Olympian/turned military man/turned POW, and keeping it moving effortlessly over 400 pages. I never once felt the need to skip ahead, or put the book down for a bit. Louie’s story is mesmerizing, awe-inspiring, sad and joyful all at once. I know a book is worthy of recommending to others when it makes me cry.
For me, what made the story so authentic is that it did not gloss over his rather petulant childhood, nor the depths to which he fell after coming home, especially after enduring such a horrific imprisonment as a POW. Addiction, failing relationships … all things that really, could have been excused given what he went through, it’s all there, and makes his determination to make amends for it (which, for him, was through religion) all the more inspiring. I’m not sure who to be more grateful to — Louie, (who previously wrote his memoir), for sharing his life—the good and the bad—with us, or Hillenbrand, for doing such painstaking research so that the story feels so complete. I’ve already passed it on to my sons and am sure they will enjoy it as much as I did.