Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm a bit torn on how to rate this book. Parts of it were just...amazing. It had the thing. The sigh-worthy aspect that makes me swoon for a book.
I loved the parts about Oscar, the boy whose father was killed during 9/11. After a bit, I started to love the parts about his grandparents as well. They were so interesting, and the way the story was woven around the dead father really brought the book together. Oscar was such a weird, delightful character. For a similarly weird character, look at The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Unlike that novel's protagonist, I don't think Oscar was autistic, although he could have been. He was just brilliant and wild enough.
So what was the problem? Well...I just didn't get why the grandparents' story was there. If it was just to weave the stories together to show how the father's death effected everyone in the family, then it should have been from the point of view of Oscar, his mother (the wife of the deceased Mr. Schell), and the grandmother (who raised him). Why was the grandfather there? His part seemed unnecessary, and his character wholly despicable. Since he never even met Mr. Schell, I don't understand why his part was included. It made the book somewhat disjointed, like there was one novel about Oscar and a completely separate one about his grandparents' lives, which didn't mention Mr. Schell much at all. I am still unsure why some of these parts were included. It seemed the author had two stories to tell and forced them into one book, though they were only loosely connected.
That said, I would still highly recommend this gem of a book. At one point, I started laughing so hard tears ran down my face. It was sort of random, in the most wonderful way. I would recommend it to anyone who likes weird books/weird characters. I can't wait to see the movie!
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