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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
Release Date: April 4, 2005
Publisher: Mariner Books
Pages: 326
Source: ALA '12
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In a vase in a closet, a couple of years after his father died in 9/11, nine-year-old Oskar discovers a key...The key belonged to his father, he's sure of that. But which of New York's 162 million locks does it open? So begins a quest that takes Oskar - inventor, letter-writer and amateur detective - across New York's five boroughs and into the jumbled lives of friends, relatives and complete strangers. He gets heavy boots, he gives himself little bruises and he inches ever nearer to the heart of a family mystery that stretches back fifty years. But will it take him any closer to, or even further from, his lost father?

My Favorite Line:  This is the hardest book I've ever had to find a favorite line in.  There were SO many awesome, amazing, and thought-provoking quotes filling those pages that I've had the hardest time narrowing it down.  
“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living.” 

“Instead of singing in the shower, I would write out the lyrics of my favourite songs, the ink would turn the water blue or red or green, and the music would run down my legs.”

“I regret that it takes a life to learn how to live.” 

“We need enormous pockets, pockets big enough for our families and our friends, and even the people who aren't on our lists, people we've never met but still want to protect. We need pockets for boroughs and for cities, a pocket that could hold the universe.” 
Why I Loved It:  There are almost no words on how amazing this book is.  It's strange and quirky and it makes you really think about the life you are living.  I have absolutely no idea how they would have made this book into a workable movie.  I don't think I want to see the movie for I feel like I would be in for an enormous disappointment.  

Oskar is an eight-year-old boy who is finding a way to deal with the death of his father.  There were many times that I was fighting tears.  I don't handle emotional books well much less from a child's perspective.  I would read this one again though, in a heart beat.  He had such an interesting way of expressing himself such as when he was sad about things, his boots were heavy.  Many of us would say we were feeling the weight of the world, but no he felt like he was wearing heavy boots.  I love that.  The use of letters and pictures spread throughout the story was interesting in a good way.  I felt it really added to the impact of the story that Oskar had to tell.  At one point in time Oskar said, “My life story is the story of everyone I've ever met.”  I think that was a big part of this story.  Oskar told his story through the stories of many different people.

In the end I realized that no matter how different we all are, how distanced, how unrelated, so much of our lives are the same.  We feel the same feelings, and we all have something in our lives that cause pain.  The glory of such a realization can be truly freeing.   

Why You Should Read It:  Considering this is a novel that has come in out in the last ten years, no one would consider this a classic.  I would say though that in 50 years, this book could be seen that way.  I think it will stick around because the message in the story is so powerfully and creatively presented.  Don't do yourself the disfavor of missing out on this book.  It was truly an incredible reading experience.

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