Saturday, March 31, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
Goodreads Rating: 4.09
My Rating: 5 Stars our of 5
Pages: 326

This is one of those rare books where I like the movie cover better than I liked the original cover. When I saw this moving coming out I decided that I needed to read it, my uncle loaned it to me, and I loved it. My dad is a firefighter and the thought of going through what this boy did is heartbreaking. I was told not to watch the movie because it is so devastating for people who were affected by 9/11 and even those not. I haven't decided if I'm going to see the movie yet, but maybe someday.

Goodreads Synopses:

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.

My review after the jump.

I thought I would cry a lot more as I read the book, but little Oskar was so quirky that I didn't feel the need to cry until the end. This book was fun and different from an ordinary novel because it not only contained pictures, but also blank pages and pages with only a few words on them. Through this book, there are really two stories being told that eventually merge into one, and that, is another reason that this book was part literary genius.

I felt for Oskar as he struggled with the fact that his mother had found male companionship so soon after his fathers death-after all he was only a child. It was this how the book started off, and it remained constant through the whole book. Although it can be hard to relate to Oskar at times (it seems that there is something wrong, like perhaps he is autistic, but Foer never comes out and says that exactly) he is on a mission that everyone has ventured on after they lost someone they loved. A mission that connects you to that person and helps keep them alive for you.

His mission which brings him to meet a whole bunch of new people because of an envelope he found in his dad's closet that says "Black" on it. He figures this is the name of a person and so in his quest to find this person, he travels all of the five boroughs in an attempt to find out if this "Black" person knew anything about his father. I won't tell you how it turned out because I really, really, really want you to read this book.

The other story that went along with this one was of a man who lost his ability to speak, and while it is bizarre (you learn not to question things in this book), its also sad and it makes you think of how important your words are.  As you follow this story you find that this man is Oskar's grandfather who left a long time ago. Learning about this man and Oskar until their lives finally become one is an amazing literary technique that many authors would pull off as clumsy and forced, but Foer makes it such a beautiful joining that its simply stunning. 

This book isn't just a collection of words, but also images that are important to both Oskar and his grandfather. These two men embark on a mission together that actually made me cry. Although people seem to think that Foer was exploiting 9/11 with this book, I don't. I think that people forget that other people were effected by those tragic events such as children who lost parents that day. Oskar's way of handling it involved venturing out into the world and holding onto his old answering machine so that he could hear his father's voice.

I think that this can be a highly emotional book for anyone, but that it for sure worth the read. So why are you still sitting here reading this? Go get this book.

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