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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Foer

February 9, 2012

After nine-year-old Oskar Schell’s father dies on 9/11/01 in the attack on the Twin Towers, he discovers a blue vase containing an envelope that’s labeled “Black.” Inside is a key. Oskar then goes on an adventure around New York City, trying to find the lock the key belongs to, from luxurious townhouses to apartments in the slums. Oskar is determined to meet everyone in New York with the last name Black. This mission leads him to meet just about every type of person there is. He makes great friends and hears even better stories.

The lead brings the reader in immediately and keeps us there for the rest of the book. There is always something happening, and we never get bored because of the changes in time, point of view, and format.

Oskar is a very funny boy, eager to learn everything about his father and everything he did. He is brought to life in the form of his Asperger’s Syndrome, which is shown by his non-stop narrating with opinions you’ll never forget.

Set in post 9-11 New York, the novel reveals the beauty of the city to Oskar, as well as its awfulness, all through the people he meets. Another point of view is set in Dresden, Germany, in World War Two, from the perspective of a man without words who is writing letters to his unborn child.

The theme of this book is that if you need help, your family always knows how to help you. I think another theme is how to move on after a death.

I rated this book a definite ten because of Oskar’s extreme innocence and also his courage to go out into the world to find what his dad left behind for him. For me, no other book has as successfully mixed humor and tragedy. Foer describes the feeling of when you lose someone close to your heart better than any other book I’ve read. I will never forget Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Houghton Mifflin, 326 pages

Wallace

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