Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

I must have been on another planet when this book was first published as I have missed all the hype that went with its publication.  I also knew nothing about the movie that has been made of this book. On another planet or hiding under a rock……

I have read a Jonathan Safran Foer book before, Eating Animals.  It was a non fiction book and I enjoyed that book. I mentioned it in the post Beyond Beef

This particular book I borrowed from the library as the title caught my eye and the first words of the blurb, ” utterly engaging”.

I found this book to be rather unusual.  I am not a fan of books that move from one person’s point of view to another’s.  I think I prefer there to be one storyteller.

From the book jacket:

In a vase in a closet, a couple of years after his father died in 9/11, nine-year-old Oskar discovers a key . . .

The key belonged to his father, he’s sure of that. But which of New York’s 162 million locks does it open?

So begins a quest that takes Oskar – inventor, letter-writer and amateur detective – across New York’s five boroughs and into the jumbled lives of friends, relatives and complete strangers. He gets heavy boots, he gives himself little bruises and he inches ever nearer to the heart of a family mystery that stretches back fifty years. But will it take him any closer to, or even further from, his lost father?

I really didn’t enjoy this book. Maybe I am slow on the uptake but I had a hard time following who was talking and felt that there were bits missing, or maybe I just missed the bits because they were well hidden in the story.   I also found it unbelievable that a mother would be unaware that her son was wandering the streets of New York.  She must have had her head buried in the sand.  Yes, he was supposed to be at lessons but surely she would have checked somehow that this was indeed the case.

Oskar was an unusual young boy and he was a plausible character but I would have preferred the story was his alone. I did feel empathy for him and the expression that he heavy boots summed him up.

I enjoyed the random bits interspersed in the story, sort of like reading a journal with pictures pasted into the book, although some might say it was a bit gimmicky.

I did finish the book but it is certainly not one I would recommend.

Since starting to write this post the movie has been released in Australia.  I don’t think I will go to see it.

This was another book for my A-Z Book Challenge from Shhh…Mommy’s blogging

4 thoughts on “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

  1. I read it a couple years ago before all the hype and thought it was okay. I didn’t realize it was popular as it was in a bargain bin at our bookstore but it had a neat cover (It’s a read hand with white writing in the fingers in Canada) so I gave it a shot. I would say I enjoyed it more than you did but didn’t think it was a literary masterpiece.

  2. This is one of my favorite books! I’ve now just seen the movie. Usually I’m not a big fan of movies after I’ve read the book, But this seemed to capture the essence of the book in a sensitive and touching way. I enjoyed the movie, and since It’s years now since I read the book,it has inspired me to re read it.My teenage daughter at the time also read the book and she was very moved by it and left a lasting impression on her,also one of her favorites.
    I was sorry you didn’t get much out of the book. Try the movie, you might like it, you might think it’s sad, but I found it to be full of hope!

    • Sometimes it just depends on your mood when you start a book. I think I had set myself up not to enjoy it as I find all things linked to 9/11 rather sad. Maybe I should go see the movie although I know I would weep.

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