First let me say, it seems among GR readers that this book stinks. And I get the criticism, I do. However, I have to say that I found this an enjoyabl...moreFirst let me say, it seems among GR readers that this book stinks. And I get the criticism, I do. However, I have to say that I found this an enjoyable read.
Yes, the voice of Ms. Dodd, our heroine, protagonist, would be feminist (well sort of pseudo feminist) - does sound more 20th Century and less like a believable 19th Century even 'modern' woman but honestly, it kind of made the book more readable to me. I have no interest in hearing a modern writer trying to trifle through old English in a book written in a journal format. The way it's constructed, this book would have been excruciating if our heroine pondered in her diary speaking like a languid Victorian bore.
In addition, since the plot centers around an outlandish concept - One Thousand (19th Century) White Women would 'volunteer' i.e. live such miserable suffering yet comparatively privileged lives - that they would run to live amongst Native Americans - is kind of preposterous. Soooo given that liberty Jim Fergus took, I just decided to sit back and enjoy the ride. And I found it a fun ride. It's a pretty fast read, he tries to make her a strong, independent character and tries to tell a story that demonstrates the complex clashing of cultures. I appreciated the effort and although it's not the best historical fiction I've read, it was one of the most original concepts I have seen tackled. (less)
I have a love-hate relationship with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Some sections I thought were beautiful and moving, some sections I felt drag...moreI have a love-hate relationship with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Some sections I thought were beautiful and moving, some sections I felt dragged the story and were outright boring, and a lot of the sections were extremely bathetic and incredibly heavy handed.
The story focuses on Oskar Schell, an eight year old upper middle class boy trying desperately to grapple with the tragic death of his father on 9/11. As the plot unfolds, we become silent partners on Oskar's journey and concurrently are intertwined in the complicated history of Oskar's paternal grandparents.
I didn't feel like the transitions between the different narratives were always seamless and I did not appreciate various artistic devices Jonathan Safran Foer used. The pictures, the changes in font, the pages of numbers - kind of made me roll my eyes. Also, I get weary with precocious children. The whole child wise beyond his years yet innocent, is a little gimmicky for my taste.
I know people cry and cry over this book, and are so overwhelmed and touched by the subject matter, and think Foer's writing is stylistic and awesome. As for me, it is just not my cup of tea. (less)
I am devastated by how much I despised this novel. It was one of the most uninspired stories about Christianity, forgiveness and familial bonds I have...moreI am devastated by how much I despised this novel. It was one of the most uninspired stories about Christianity, forgiveness and familial bonds I have ever read.
I can't help but wonder if this is the first plotless novel to win a Pulitzer. I'll be on the look out. The framework of the "story" is a dying minister writing in his diary presumably for his now 7 year old son to read after his death. The first person father writing to his son narrative was horrid. I felt like the entire book was one run-on sentence - not because the sentences were lengthy - but rather because it was written as rambling musings of an old man I neither cared about nor related to.
Plus, the sentences were a clunky patchwork of memories and present day reflections that did not connect smoothly. If the story was more linear, the "journal" style mechanism that Marilynne Robinson used could possibly make the novel enjoyable. Or readable.
Unlike the majority, I did not find the old man's reflections insightful - at all. The stories, memories, regrets, doctrine, in essence every single subject broached was so flippin, tear my hair out, boring. Call me ageist, but the stream of consciousness of a 77 year old comes across as senility not sentimentality. I can only assume Robinson was going for the latter. Don't be fooled. (less)