This Blog is Dedicated to our dear friend Karen.
When she left this life she left a hole in our hearts as well as several to be read books.
We, her friends, will read these books for her.
This blog will be a sort of book club for us to post our thoughts and feelings about the stories and feelings we have of Karen while we read.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

#44 Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer


Oskar Schell's father died in the World Trade Center collapse on September 11, 2001. Or, at least, that's what the family always assumed, since his body was never discovered. But his father often created puzzles for Oskar to solve, so when Oskar finds a key hidden in his father's closet, he thinks his father's disappearance might be part of a grand puzzle for him to figure out, and he sets out to interview people all over greater New York City, trying to solve the puzzle, which he hopes will show that his father didn't actually die.

Although it's never stated outright in the book, I think Oskar has an autism-spectrum disorder, which makes him super-smart in some areas, but lacking some basic social-interaction skills. He asks people impolite questions, which make his mother cringe. But there are also glimpses of how any child of his age would react to the kinds of very serious things that are happening in his life.

I said that Oskar is the narrator of most of the book, and this brings up the one thing about the novel that I didn't like: occasionally, there are chapters written as letters - some from Oskar's grandfather to his son, some from Oskar's grandmother to Oskar. It takes a little while to figure out which of these characters is speaking sometimes, and the grandfather's writing style (with its lack of consistent punctuation) is difficult to read at times.

Some online reviews have complained about the book's ending. Without giving away any plot details, I will say that the story doesn't necessarily end how one would hope it would end, but there is definitely some closure given for Oskar and the other characters.

While the book didn't pass my ultimate test (Did it leave me crying in Taco Bell?), the last 20 or so pages did have me crying in my public library.


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