Friday, August 17, 2012
Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Publishing Date: April 4th, 2005
Genre: Adult Contemporary, Literature
Pages: 326 pgs
Rating: 4 stars
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I picked this book up for book club and it has been one that I have wanted to read for quite some time. When I saw that there was a movie out based on this book I suggested it to my book club and they were excited about it. I have to say that this book is nothing like anything I've ever read before. It is a novel but it also includes some pages with pictures and other pages with only one sentence on it. There is even a few pages where the text seems to be written on top of each other and it kind of bleeds together. It is done to put us into the mindset of the main character, Oskar, a young boy who lost his father in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Oskar is quite a different individual and at times I had to question whether or not he was autistic. That was my intial reaction to him but then he did some things that led me to believe that perhaps not, but he is definitely socially awkward. Oskar is trying to deal with his sorrow by trying to solve his father's last scavenger hunt. He finds a key in an envelope marked Black, and he is determined to find out what the key opens. Along the way he meets many different people in New York City.
There is also another storyline happening in this novel and that is the story of his grandfather and grandmother. I found this part of the story to be a bit confusing at times because the narration jumps without any real indication of who is speaking. You also get little snippets of time and you have to try to piece it together.
When I first started this book I really liked how eclectic it was and how different it was from anything that I had ever read. As I kept reading a part of me got a bit confused and I really wished at those times that things were a little more clear. Then I started to get some answers and it got good again. At times I just wanted to take Oskar and squeeze him with love and at other times I wanted to yell at him for having no filter. The book was incredible sad at times and I didn't feel like it got uplifting in the end. I still felt like there was this sad bubble around the whole family that wasn't going to leave anytime soon. I think that is the point though. Life is constantly throwing things at you and you are constantly trying to wade through your emotions. I have to say that I quite enjoyed this novel and overall I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I can't wait to discuss this book at book club tomorrow night.