Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer

There are some books that are written to be read and then there are some that are written to viewed as well. When I sat on my couch to read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close I was reprimanded by one of my good friends (who had read the novel before) who told me I wasn't allowed to look at the pictures before I read the book. We "debated" this for a  while before I told him to leave me alone and to let me read my book.

I won't tell you who won that debate but both of us had equally applicable arguments. One of them being that the most exciting thing about this novel is how it is written. If you are not the kind of person who normally enjoys reading, try this one. Especially if you are a visual person. Foer wrote this novel not only to be read but to be looked at. Whether you look at it before or while you are reading the novel is irrelevant. The writing is interactive; so much so that it grabs your attention and involves you in the events that take place in a way that makes the book extremely moving to read.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a novel about a young boy, Oskar Schell, who embarks on a journey through New York City in search of meaning behind a key that he finds in an envelope at the bottom of a vase hidden in his father's closet. For Oskar, the journey is a way for him to connect with his father who passed away in the 9/11 incident.

Foer, through this novel, provides an understanding perspective on the effects of post traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression, and leaves the reader with a little more understanding of what those can really mean.

Foer has a way of involving readers in the trauma that this particular family has been through but he also involves you in their healing process and the results of that process. Oskar, himself, is such an endearing child that it's hard to reach the end of the novel and not feel emotionally tied to him and this is where Foer succeeds. He succeeds in drawing readers into the story, connecting them with the characters and in portraying his message across. That message being, evident in the abundance of symbols and motifs that pop up, that it is important to tell those you love that you love them.

The physical journey that Oskar goes on parallels with the emotional journey that his entire family are travelling on. And as the reader discovers the truth, with Oskar, they are also drawn to this family who are growing closer to one another as they learn from their lives and the people in them.

In the simplest terms, it is a love story.

- Allanah Osborn


Allanah Osborn is an obsessive reader who works for marketing in the BYU Bookstore.
If you would like to submit a book review, please contact us at bookstore_marketing@byu.edu

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