Happy Leap Day my lovely readers! This February, our READ THIS! book of the month was Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close:
"Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated. Now, with humor, tenderness, and awe, he confronts the traumas of our recent history.
Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey."
In spite of the negative reviews that Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud garnered, I think Foer's storytelling capability is brilliantly displayed in this novel. Foer has a very distinct style, running lines of dialogue together with nothing to differentiate between speakers except for closed parantheses, and it is easy to see how a reader could get bogged down by these seemingly run on sessions of dialogue. Through this, however, comes a story about a young boy finding himself through a journey to search for answers after his father dies in the attacks on September 11. The book opens and ends with pieces from September 11, but most of the novel is really about Oscar navigating through a world previously unknown to him.
It isn't said in the book, but I think that one could classify Oscar's behavior as having autistic characteristics. He's incredibly bright and has an ability to focus extremely intently at certain times, among other things. With Oscar, Foer has created a character that gives you hope, inspires you never stop learning and reminds you that life is not about the destination, but the journey that we take to get there. This novel made me laugh, it made me cry and I could barely put it down. An emotional subject, but one that is worth exploring for the reward that comes with taking in this great story.
Did you enjoy it? Do you want to be best friends with Oscar Schell as much as I do? Did you appreciate the backstory on his grandparents, or could you have done without it? I'd love to here your thoughts on this novel!
And now, I'd like to introduce you to March's READ THIS! book, The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.
"In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife."
I am so excited to sink into this story and follow along with Natalia as the explores the mystery of her grandfather's death and the story of the tiger's wife. Will you read along with me? I hope so! And if you're reading along, please grab a button for your blog from the sidebar!