Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer is about a nine year old boy who finds a key along with the word Black and searches the five boroughs of New York for the lock that this key opens. He use to play scavenger hunts and other word games with his father but his father was killed on September 11, 2001 when the Twin Towers collapse. He thought the key was his father's clue to open something really important, something he should know, so his search begins.
We come to know nine year old Oskar and follow him through New York on his secret mission. He learns about interacting with other people, connections people have, and some questions that have no answers. Jonathan does some soul searching of his own, learns more about his father, plus dealing with the guilt he is feeling. We feel his pain and disappointment along with his hope and excitement along the way.
The biggest problem I had with the book is the style of writing. It was so repetitious, at times downright irritating, and most of the time didn't make any sense. I had to reread many parts of the books just to be sure I read it correctly the first time just to find I did. So much time was spent on the symbolism and trying to interpreted what is being said and who is saying it that what I thought would be an enjoyable book turned into a word game of its own. By this I mean...
I don't talk.....sorry.
As I stir my coffee.
I flip to the page and point to "Either you will love this book or hate it."
Then I flip a few pages back and point to "I hate it!"
As I stir my coffee.
I repeat...What the?
You know what is sad?
A person who missed their train home by only a minute.
Was that minute a mere tick of the clock....tick tock?
I do not call that literature, creative writing, or a great story...I call it nonsense. Spread it out across 10 pages then it becomes irritating.
These pages of this nonsense in addition to all that scribbling didn't add to the story, they were just more pages to turn by.
The story was choppy and almost seemed like random thoughts were just being thrown in there trying to add more to the story then needed. One example is the bombing of Dresden during WWII. I don't know if it was meant to show that each generation had its tragedies or what the purpose was. If there was some comparison of the two events (Dresden and 9/11) other than both being tragic events then I missed it. Maybe the true plot of the book wasn't concerning 9/11 but of the survival of the bombing in Dresden. I don't know because it just isn't clear.
The characters were unbelievable starting with the mother who seems way too detached. First off, if I had a vase in one of my closets and my child broke it and threw it in my waste basket without saying a word to me, I would know it and would be wondering what they were doing in my closet to begin with. Maybe this is the unwritten part and is how his mother turned out knowing what Oskar was doing. But if that is the case then the mother must have known about the key before hand so why didn't she confront her son? Then there is the biggest question of all of why she would let her son travel the streets of NY alone going to strangers' houses. It definitely questions her abilities as a parent.
Another example is how can you have two people living in the same house with one typing page after page of a story to the tune of something like 500 pages and the neither one not noticing there are no words on the paper and no ribbon in the typewriter? What was that all about? Is this some symbolism or just some more "detached" members of the family? Then they move and live at the airport!
Hmmm...I really am not getting this book at all. I found it a senseless story with a really annoying writing style and no real clear cut conclusions to the problems of the characters from the beginning other than what lock the key opens. I do NOT recommend this story due to the above reasons and plus when I was done reading it all I could think of was "What the?"
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