Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close [Book Review]

Title: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
Genre: Literary Fiction
ISBN: 0618329706
Pages: 368
Year: 2005
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Personal Collection
Rating: 4.5/5


9-year-old Oskar Schell lost his dad on 9/11. One day, he finds a key in his father’s closet in an envelope marked “Black.” He decides to go on a mission and speak to every person named Black in New York City to solve the mystery in the hopes of learning something about his dad.

My Thoughts:

I am kicking myself for waiting this long to read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. I am a big fan of Jonathan Safran Foer (Eating Animals literally changed my life) and this book only solidifies it.

Precocious and socially-awkward, Oskar is immediately lovable. He’s one of those characters you just want to hug. He is so sad without his dad and he can’t seem to find a way to move on with his life. Until he finds this key and suddenly he has A Plan. Along the way he meets all kinds of people, befriending many. In the end, he is different, though maybe not in the way he imagined.

The book jumps between Oskar’s story and the story of his grandparents, who fled Dresden during WWII and found each other again in New York. This is where Foer takes liberties and plays with different writing techniques. It is ambitious, but works. Yet even during these wonderfully-written passages, I was drawn back to Oskar and longed for his story.

The story happens because of September 11th but it is not a book about September 11th. It is a story of survival, loss, love, and life. I highly recommend it to those of you who, like me, have let it linger on your shelves.

Others’ Thoughts: S. Krishna’s Books; Erin Reads; Take Me Away;

Buy It Now: IndieBound

8 thoughts on “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close [Book Review]

  1. Vishy January 12, 2012 / 9:26 am

    Glad to know that you loved ‘Extremely Loud, Incredibly Close’, Michelle. I read it a few years back for book club and I remember liking it at that time, but not loving it. I should maybe try reading it again.


  2. Jenny January 12, 2012 / 9:57 am

    I can’t wait for the movie on 1/20!


  3. Melissa January 12, 2012 / 10:34 am

    I adore this book. I read it a few years ago, but I’d love it read it again now that the movie is coming out.


  4. zibilee January 12, 2012 / 10:36 am

    I think I did myself a disservice by listening to this one instead of reading it, and knowing that it’s sort of experimental in nature makes me want to go out and grab the book and go for it again. I do admit that I liked the grandparent’s story less than I liked the other bits, but overall, it was a very wonderful read! Loved your review as well!


  5. Ti January 12, 2012 / 10:43 am

    I am kicking myself too, but for STILL not reading it. I even BOUGHT it as a gift for someone else, and not myself. LOL.


  6. Linda January 12, 2012 / 11:05 am

    I read it years ago and remember really enjoying it. I need to read more of his work.


  7. Jamie January 12, 2012 / 12:15 pm

    I’M SOOO HAPPY YOU LOVED IT!! Since it’s one of my top 3 fave books ever..I always get nervous when I know people are reading it! lol And I agree..Oskar..so immediately loveable. That’s what drew me in. I love his usage of words like dipshiitake and heavy boots. I’ve incorporated them into my vocabulary. Great review!


  8. Sandy January 13, 2012 / 6:23 am

    I loved Oscar too. The convoluted grandparents’ story? Not so much. I thought it disrupted the whole flow of the book. BUT. The part about Oscar was precious and more than made up for that other part. I can’t wait for the movie!


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