Megan's Reviews > Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
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Jan 23, 12

bookshelves: one-book-one-community-msu
Recommended to Megan by: One Book, One Community
Recommended for: Everyone
Read from January 16 to 23, 2012

First off I would like to recommend that everyone reads this book you will not regret it and I hope to add more to this review after I am a little less emotional because of it.

All incoming freshman to Michigan State have to read a book for One Book, One Community. Last year when I was a freshman the book was Zeitoun and this was the book for this year. I wish I would have read it when Jonathan Saddam Foer came to East Lansing but I didn't read it until now.

This is one of those books where the message and the feelings of the book just hit me all at once. I was sitting on the bus on the way home and as soon as I got back home I started to cry. The book is filled with so much emotion and pure human suffering.

"You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness."

This book is told from the perspective of a little boy who lost is father to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. While looking through his father's closet he finds a key and the only clue is the word Black written on the envelope. Oskar thought this was the last puzzle his dad made for him before he died and he sets on a quest to find what lock the key belongs to because the search makes him feel closer to his dad. The book also has chapters from the perspective of Oskar's Grandmother and Grandfather, in letters and stories of their lives. I think in a way the grandparents story was just as sad if not sadder than Oskar's story. They came from Dresden Germany and there is a chapter describing the bombing that destroyed both of their lives. Like I said the book includes pure human suffering.

“I said, 'I need to know how he died.'
He flipped back and pointed at, 'Why?'
So I can stop inventing how he died. I'm always inventing.”

"I regret that it takes a life to learn how to live."

"Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living."

"I wondered for the first time in my life, if life was worth all the work it took to live."

These are just some of the lines that stuck with me through this book. No one in this story has what you call a happy life. I can recall exactly what happened to me on September 11th and the videos still affect me to this day. I can't imagine losing someone in this way I'm sure it would give anyone "heavy boots." This book just had real emotions and I just wanted to reach through the pages and give Oskar, his grandma, his grandpa, anyone a hug. Oskar gives himself bruises and hides the phone from his mom where his dad called leaving messages as he was inside one of the twin towers. His grandma who didn't know how to live but loved Oskar more than anything. His grandpa who lost the ability to speak and tries to avoid loving anyone for fear of losing it. These feelings seemed so real that they just touched your heart. I'm just sad I didn't read this book until know.

I will end with the same quote as I started and again recommend everyone to read this book as soon as they can get their hands on it.

"You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness."
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich How is this so far? Wasn't it MSU's 'One book one community' this year? I kinda want to see the movie, but I'd have to read it first. And he's Polish, so feel some heritage pride!


Megan It's really good I'm about halfway through it. I hate though that I can't put my page progress on here because its on my kindle and doesn't tell me page numbers :(


Megan Never mind I just have to make it the kindle edition...


message 4: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Great review hermana! This sounds super good, I've been meaning to read it. Good thing you made it back home before crying, those crazy night buses through Lansing are full of weirdo's who might have just started crying with you!

Ha, did you have Mr. Brehmer for any history classes in high school? When the first plane hit they came over the P.A. saying for everyone to turn on the news, and I was taking a test in Brehmer's class. He said 'whatever is on the news is not as important to your future as passing this test.' When class ended I ran out into the halls where a friend yelled to me that the Chinese bombed us. In my next class, Ms. Gerlach, she had us all write our thoughts on what was happening, so I wrote about how crazy it was that the Chinese were currently bombing us since I had yet to hear or see the real news. She probably thought I was crazy.


message 5: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Wonderful review, Megan. I am hoping to read this soon.


Megan s.penkevich wrote: "Great review hermana! This sounds super good, I've been meaning to read it. Good thing you made it back home before crying, those crazy night buses through Lansing are full of weirdo's who might ha..."

Yeah I stopped reading and waiting until I got home. I didn't have Mr. Brehmer but I heard the stories about him so that doesn't surprise me with him but I did have Ms. Gerlach for like 2 weeks before she had her baby and she remembered you, I don't know if she remembers that though. Your friend obviously didn't watch the news either ha.


Megan Stephen wrote: "Wonderful review, Megan. I am hoping to read this soon."

Thanks Stephen, I'll be looking forward to see what you think about it.


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