Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Jonathan Safran Foer)

   After finishing my book on the human genome, I thought I would read a fiction book for a change. My waiting-to-be-read pile of books has definitely accumulated over the past several months so I just decided to start from the top of my pile and work my way down. Little did I know that I would choose arguably the most compelling book I have ever picked up.
   Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close follows the adventures of a young boy, Oskar, seeking closure and answers to his father's death. Just as the plot shows, the book is one of sadness but also one of hope. Jonathan Safran Foer really takes us on a journey of emotions. One second I feel like I'm getting closure and the next I'm feeling hopeless and depressed. The book is written in the view point of Oskar which makes it much more personal. I really feel like I am in Oskar's head feeling all of his emotions. Oskar once had a very close relationship with his father only to have is father taken away from him by the devastating event of 9/11. He is feeling lost and mistreated even a year after his father's death. However, he finds a mysterious key while rummaging through his father's old things in his closet. This key takes him on a wild adventure, solving the last mystery his father left him. The book is raw emotion. Not only do you get to see how 9/11 affected a little boy, but you see how it affected the citizens of New York. How are people rebuilding their lives? How are people coping with loss? This book answers all of those questions. In the end it seems all we need is a little friend to get us by. I haven't finished the book just yet, but as of now my favorite quote is on pages 73-74. Oskar has just finished speaking with his grandma.
              "We need much bigger pockets...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."
   Taken out of context this quote might not make much sense. Oskar is referencing to his question about why matches are so short. However, the quote is a reoccurring theme throughout the book. All we ever want to do is protect those we love. We survive in numbers. Therefore, when it comes right down to it, we really do just need to protect each other. For in the end, everyone loses everyone anyway. It is a sad book. However, it also has its happy moments. Oskar's interactions with his fellow citizens of New York bring comedic relief and hope for a new tomorrow. 
   My only complaint is that Oskar is relatively scatter brained so it is hard to understand what he is trying to say sometimes. Then again, that might be why I love it so much. We really are in the mind of a little boy, not just some fictitious character. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is wanting to read a different type of book. This book is unique just like its characters. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Sad is compelling and overall very special. I will definitely hold a place for it in my top favorite books.   

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