Title: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
Publication Date: April 2005
Overview: Nine year old Oskar Schell’s father is dead. When Oskar finally gathers the strength to go look at his father’s belongings he finds a mysterious key hidden in an envelope in the bottom of a dusty, blue vase. Oskar wants desperately to know what the key opens, what mysteries his father may be hiding. His only clue is the word “Black” scribbled in red pen. Oskar then goes about an adventure that takes him throughout New York City.
For Fans Of: Mark Haddon, John Green, Safran Foer
World-Building: There’s an interesting type of good will that Foer presents in his novel. While there are strangers who are confused by Oskar and bullies who are fairly unrelenting, many people are content to accept that a strange young boy who asks too many questions is asking them. Even before Oskar’s mother interferes, we can see this happening. People simply accept that he is there and that he is asking personal questions. They answer and remain relatively non-plussed. I didn’t find this to be a drawback. It was actually rather nice, but strange nonetheless.
Character Development: I liked watching Oskar grow throughout his adventure. It was nice to see him start to recognize his mother as a person. As children we often take our parents for granted. It was good to see that acknowledged. It was also good to see him start to be aware of others’ feelings and needs.
I thought Oskar’s voice throughout was very well done. He really rang true, asked the questions that he would ask, mourned in a fitting way, and loved in a way that seemed very true.
I also really liked the direction that Oskar’s grandparent’s relationship took. I enjoyed seeing some reconciliation there.
Plot: The plot was nice. It was a bit secondary to Oskar’s grief, but that was appropriate. I, admittedly, was worried about his safety. The last 70 or so pages were pretty great.
Book Depository Link: http://www.bookdepository.com/Extremely-Loud-Incredibly-Close-Main-Theme-/9780739088678