No Camera Can Capture This Book


I’m sure you’ve seen the previews for actress/director’s Angelina Jolie’s war movie, Unbroken, based on superstar author Laura Hillenbrand’s bestseller, which comes out on Christmas day.

I’m not going to lie. I was a little disappointed when I heard that they’re making a movie based off of the book. I’m glad that the book sales will skyrocket in expectation of the movie, but I’ve been tracking the early reviews, and I’m not surprised to see that it’s not being received very favorably.

Why? My assertion is that because not even the greatest filmmaker in the world can capture this book on camera. It’s not possible. And the fact that the movie is only PG-13 suggests that a huge portion of the book has been compromised.

I was lucky enough to bring home an advanced reader’s copy of the book years ago and Sarabeth, who usually takes her time with books, read it in three days. I’d never heard her exalt a book so much before.

Having a strict reading schedule, I planned on tacking it on to the end of my list. But Sarabeth summed up the preface and hooked me and I read the book at once:

Three soldiers stranded on a raft in the middle of the Pacific. Thirsty. Starving. Drifting for over a month. They see a plane coming toward them from a distance. They wave, exhilarated, elated at the prospect of finally being rescued. But  suddenly the water explodes around them. It’s a Japanese plane shooting at them. One of the men, Louie, dives overboard, and the sharks that have been circling their raft for over a month swim straight toward him from below. 

It’s nearly impossible to take longer than a week to finish this book. I just finished my second reading of it and it impressed me even years later. The crazy thing is, if this book were fictional, no one would bother finishing it, because the events that take place are so impossible, so unimaginable, so unbelievable, that the only way some of these events can be taken seriously is if they actually happened.

I’m not discouraging anyone from seeing the movie, especially since I haven’t seen it myself. But no matter what, don’t judge the book by it. Read the book.

Read the book.

Read the book. Kapeesh?

Read my post about the hero of the book, Louis Zamperini, here.

I_Am_LionTreat yourself to a new book for your Kindle, my newest work, I Am the Lion

About Andrew Toy
Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

22 Responses to No Camera Can Capture This Book

  1. dfrantz1953 says:

    The book was amazing! I loved LH’s book about Sea Biscuit and knew “Unbroken” would be a story well told and researched. I bought hardback copies for several family members after I read it. You said it so well, I don’t see how a camera can capture the story.

  2. flygirl140 says:

    I will be finally starting it this weekend! I am looking forward to the movie because it will provide Louis Zamporini’s story for so many who will not read the book. I just hope that what is shown is accurate. (I know a lot of the violence will be removed)

  3. My wife just gave me this book to begin to read. I’ve heard the story, she’s read it all. Great story. Hope the movie does it justice!

  4. djholli920 says:

    I just finished the book, and honestly, I do not typically read non-fiction. I read it because of the hype the movie is getting, and usually if a movie is based upon a book, I read the book first. This book immediately made it to my top 3 best books I have ever read. I laughed, cried, got angry, cried, forgave people I have never heard of, cried, and laughed, then cried again. The writing was fantastic and I can’t stop telling people about it! I am excited to see the move, but I am remaining cautiously optimistic because a movie NEVER lives up to my expectations. As a side note, I am glad that it has a PG-13 rating, I don’t think you need to have all of the violence to make a point, and I feel a little more comfortable taking my 16 year old sister to see it.

  5. As dfrantz says, Seabiscuit is also excellent.

  6. Michael says:

    Thanks for the recommendation!

  7. Val_ToWriter says:

    I, too, loved the Zamperini story and, as always with accounts of this type, can’t imagine what inner strength it takes to get through all that. Do I have it? I guess I never want to be challenged in that way, to be truthful. I will see the movie. There are so few out these days that I really want to watch. We’ll see why it has the PG 13 rating and if that diminishes the story. On the other hand, it’s good for younger people to see how true heroes behave and survive.

    • That is true, that it allows younger people to see it; for that I’m grateful. The story does beg the question, “Would I have what it takes?” I’m pretty certain I’m not even close…

  8. Loved the book. I may or may not see the movie. This is mostly true with every book I read that is made into a movie. It my head I have to treat it like two stories and two unrelated experiences – otherwise I’m disappointed. That said – I can always appreciated a GREAT move version :-).

  9. blessed1 says:

    I love this post and can’t wait for the movie and to read the book.

  10. Sandymae says:

    I loved Sea Biscuit and I am now excited about reading this book and seeing the movie. The movie was recommended to my husband and me just this past Sunday, so two good recommendations within a week for this story has sold me on the need to read it and see it. Thanks for the review.

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