I picked up Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer several months ago when I was feeling wistful inside of a Barnes & Noble, and knew when it was the same author that wrote Everything Is Illuminated, that I had to check it out. (For the record, I still have not read this book… it is just one of my favorite movies of all time. Yes, I am horrible).
Anyways, in my delay to be employed, I have been working diligently on my book pile, and this one got moved down the list. In my attempt to be intellectual, I pushed this away as an emotional fiction read, and it wasn’t until I was brain-dead after my last literary attempt did I pick this up. Can I say that I wish I had done this sooner?
This book was amazing. I am a big fan of cry-reads, especially realistic fiction. I am not a literary expert, but I love this style, and I remembered all over again why I loved Foer’s first work and movie. This book is about a young boy finding his way after he lost his dad in 9/11, without all of the political drama and detail that accompanies so many other people’s tragic stories. It is an amazing book about love, relationships, and figuring out why things happen, and where to go from there. I think my favorite parts of this book were Oskar’s whimsical thoughts and inventions, and it made me feel a little more connected to everyone else (and the ramblings in everyone’s heads). I highly recommend, just be prepared to cry. This is not a joke.
It made me feel like 100 dollars.
Length: 368 Pages
Ease: Moderate/Easy. Clear text but lots of rambling/stream of thought.
For more advice, an Amazon Review:
Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated. Now, with humor, tenderness, and awe, he confronts the traumas of our recent history. What he discovers is solace in that most human quality, imagination.
Meet Oskar Schell, an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist, correspondent with Stephen Hawking and Ringo Starr. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. His mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
An inspired innocent, Oskar is alternately endearing, exasperating, and hilarious as he careens from Central Park to Coney Island to Harlem on his search. Along the way he is always dreaming up inventions to keep those he loves safe from harm. What about a birdseed shirt to let you fly away? What if you could actually hear everyone’s heartbeat? His goal is hopeful, but the past speaks a loud warning in stories of those who’ve lost loved ones before. As Oskar roams New York, he encounters a motley assortment of humanity who are all survivors in their own way. He befriends a 103-year-old war reporter, a tour guide who never leaves the Empire State Building, and lovers enraptured or scorned. Ultimately, Oskar ends his journey where it began, at his father’s grave. But now he is accompanied by the silent stranger who has been renting the spare room of his grandmother’s apartment. They are there to dig up his father’s empty coffin.