Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I really wanted to love this book. There were parts of it that I simply adored but there were many that I just didn’t like. The grandparent flashbacks were often more confusing than anything and left me with more questions than before I read them. I also didn’t like how Safran Foer used his own weird formatting and ignored basic writing rules. I’m all for creativity in presentation but putting a conversation between two people all in one paragraph is just annoying to read. I often had to go back a page and re-read to see who was saying what.
I really loved Oskar. It took a while to get used to his narrative but once I did, I fell in love with the kid. However, as a social worker I wanted to know his diagnosis. LOL He presented as someone on the Autism Spectrum but was extremely high functioning too and there were times when I wondered if he had Aspberger’s but then others when he didn’t seem like it. Then of course there was the Grandpa. WHY did he lose his words? WHY didn’t anyone ever try to help him with it? So may questions left unanswered.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I read the book and I look forward to finally seeing the movie. I just don’t know if I’d suggest this book to other people without a disclaimer on how odd it is.
October 6th, 2012 at 9:06 pm
I wrote about this one on my other (book) blog — Chopsticks and String — about a year ago and had a similar reaction. I wanted to like it and I just couldn’t. Period. I was very frustrated by the formatting, as you were and very confused by the two stories and how they really connected. I mean, I got it, but I didn’t. It was like he was writing two different books — individually appealing — and then thought, “Now, how do I put these together.” I really liked Oskar’s story — as one who worked with grieving children for ten years, it was quite an amazing portrait of grieving — and of a parent letting the child work through it. But overall, I’m not sure I would have given it 3 of 5. I haven’t seen the film yet but have heard from others who didn’t much like the book that they did enjoy or appreciate the film.
October 7th, 2012 at 4:27 pm
Yeah from an Ele’s standpoint I really liked Oskar’s part of the book. Although I was ticked at the mother for going to a grief group and not sending Oskar to one. 🙂 I just felt like the Grandparent flashbacks were too disconnected. There were times when it felt too like the Grandpa was talking to Oskar in his letters but they were supposed to be to the dad. It was all just very confusing.
October 22nd, 2012 at 5:08 pm
I’m sorry to hear you really didn’t enjoy the book, I personally loved it and it is in fact one of my favourite books. I can appreciate that the narrative can be annoying but it is like that on purpose: to demonstrate the after effects of traumatic events.
His grandpa suffers from Aphasia due to the traumatic events of the Dresden bombings. Have a look at my review and it might put a different spin on it for you: