What I’m Reading: Six years after everybody else read it edition

21 Mar

Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really want to give this book two different star ratings. Four stars (maybe even five) for the parts that Oskar narrates and two stars to the parts where the grandparents are narrating. It felt like two completely different books to me. Obviously there was some intersection, but Oskar’s chapters were behind the wheel of the plot. Had it been left to the grandparents, we would have stalled out in the breakdown lane. I always wanted to fast forward through their parts.

It’s strange how I had zero sympathy for the silent grandfather who can’t get over his teenaged sweetheart [who was killed in an attack], but I wanted to hug the crap out of the little boy who can’t get over his father [who was killed in an attack]. It was the biggest head-smacking parallel of the whole book, but I wasn’t on board with it.

I was worried about reading this book because I thought it was going to be a big bawl-fest the whole way through, and I wasn’t in the mood. But in the end there were only two parts that got me, and I’m not even sure whether they were intended to: 1.) when Oskar invents (imagines) the ambulance that flashes the status of its occupant to his or her family–either “I’m OK!” or, if they’re not going to be OK, “I love you! Goodbye!” I think anybody who has lost someone and didn’t get the chance to say goodbye would feel that one. 2.) the listing of the taglines of the 9/11 victims (father, collector, tennis player, investor, grandfather, father, sister, baseball fanatic, etc). It hit me way harder than the lists of actual names I’ve seen. It made them more real. The list went on forever, but still you knew it was only a small section of the lives that were lost, you know? Anyway, I thought those two things were much sadder than the final phone messages from Oskar’s dad.

P.S. Mr. Black’s disappearance was annoying. The narrator of my audio book did a freakin’ fantastic job with his voice, and it made me really love the character. I hope he went to live in the Empire State Building.

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One Response to “What I’m Reading: Six years after everybody else read it edition”

  1. momssmallvictories March 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    I agree whole heartedly with your review. I also listened to the audiobook and loved Oscar’s and Mr. Black’s characters. I could’ve done without grandparent storyline as well. Great job on this review.

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