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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

By , Royal Oak, MI

Most of you probably don’t remember 9/11 because you were so little, but for most people this day will never be forgotten. In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, among these people is Oskar Schell, our book’s protagonist, who lost his dad to this tragic event. Oskar’s dad was one of the many people lost to the events of 9/11. A year later, Oskar goes into his father’s closet and finds a vase on the top shelf. In the vase is an envelope with the word “black” written on it. Inside the envelope is a key. Throughout the book, Oskar tries to find the lock that the key belongs to. On his journey, Oskar meets many new people including his grandpa. The chapters alternate between Oskar’s life, the grandpa’s letters to his son, and the grandmas thoughts.

The author Jonathan Safran Foer does a very good job developing the characters. Through their words and actions, readers get a real feel for the characters and really get to know them throughout the book, especially Oskar. Oskar is very literal and loving. Although he is tough on the outside, Foer allows readers to get inside Oskar’s head and learn more about his sensitivity, especially toward his mother. Most of the story is written from Oskar’s point of view. Foer changes first-person speakers between chapters to allow readers to learn more about the grandparents and their lives before Oskar.

This book is good for a wide range of readers. It appeals to the adventurers through Oskar's journey around New York. It appeals to mystery readers because of the search for the lock that the mysterious key opens and the story behind it. It appeals to the creative readers because of Oskar's thought and inventions. It appeals to the soft-hearted readers through Oskar’s effort to get closer to his father and the relationship between his grandpa and grandma. This book was bright and toyed with the reader's different emotions.

I highly recommend this book. It is a good book to cuddle up and read on a rainy day or while lying out on the beach. It is entertaining and exciting. The plot moves at a good pace and it is not too fast or too slow. The reader gets very attached to the characters and feels like they are part of the story.

You may not want to read this book because you think it will be sad. As Oskar’s grandma says, “You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness” (180). There are parts that will make you sad, but instead of not reading it to avoid the sadness, read it to experience the happiness.

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