extremely loud and incredibly close by j s foer

How did 334 days just fly by?? How is it already December? And how could I have shamefully posted one lousy review last month? Time flies.  Reality melts. And it all goes on somehow.  Before this year comes to an end, I thought I would review a book that I had enjoyed a few times, although it hadn’t received much accolade by the mass… which is even more intriguing to me, because I hate following what the public thinks anyway.  Plus, the book has been adapted into a film and that is supposedly releasing in the States sometime this month (starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock).  Jonathan Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is an extremely creative and incredibly sentimental novella.

Oskar Schell, the 9-year-old protagonist whose father was killed in the events of September 11, invites the reader into his deepest, darkest thoughts through a rather unconventional narration of texts and visuals from his scrapbook.  After his father’s death, Oskar, who is a self-proclaimed adventurer and discoverer, finds a blue vase in his father’s closet.  In it is an enveloped marked “Black” and a key.  His findings trigger him to go on a quest around New York City to find the lock that matches the key.  Oskar’s mom doesn’t seem to have a lot of interest in her son.  In fact, she doesn’t even doubt the dangers a child could face by aimlessly walking alone in the concrete jungle.  I began to feel as if I was his guardian responsible for anything that could’ve gone wrong during his expedition.

The story is quite moving; Foer evokes his character’s emotional experiences with much compassion and psychological acuity.  The story itself isn’t anything ingenious… especially in comparison to his first book (Everything is Illuminated).  But I think the stylish execution of his writing and the sporadic presentation of visuals played a significant role in building the relationship between the readers and Oskar.  It’s so easy to lose sight of the purity of human kind as we age.  But through nine year old Oskar’s interpretations and perspective on reality, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close brings back the youthful essence closer to our hearts.  Don’t expect to read something intellectually profound. But do expect to shed some tears, share some laughter, and get in touch with your inner most and often forgotten feelings. After all, what happened on 9/11/01 impacted all of us to some degree.  Two thumbs up.  Happy reading!

dee’s recommendation: 5/5