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ALL THAT I AM By Anna Funder September 4, 2012

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.

        This novel is an easy read, but the book took the Lycan Librarian quite a while to read. It could be because it had to be read so slowly, to best enjoy the lovely phrasing and beautiful writing, or it could be that the librarian never connected with any of the characters. She doesn’t care for the literary device of jumping from character to character and time to time, but this is how this book was written, and that’s what’s being published these days. The book starts out strong, but  interest waned and this reader had to force herself to get back to it. When the various characters narrate, they all have the same voice so if readers stops in mid-chapter, they have to flip back to the beginning of the chapter to see who is narrating when they get back to it. The book seems to keep readers shuttered mostly in apartments, so the librarian read this selection outside as often as she could to keep from feeling pent in. But at least the dogs were happy as they also trailed outside each time.

        This novel is based on true characters and a true story, but it could have been stronger as nonfiction, or if the readers not familiar with these historical figures weren’t told up front which would live through the Nazi threats and which would not. The flavor of the times doesn’t come through at all, and one must wonder if this is from being kept “inside” so much, and not often permitted to venture out onto the streets. 

        Funder is a well-respected writer and there are quite a few good reviews for this novel, but this reader isn’t quite recommending it to others. There are scores of more powerful books about Nazis and those brave enough to stand up and fight them. Funder’s writing is truly lovely, but the lack of strong setting and characterization left the Lycan Librarian extremely disappointed.



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