Christina White's Reviews > Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
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Jan 06, 14

bookshelves: literary-fiction
Read from March 02 to 13, 2012

** spoiler alert ** This was horrible. The writing was horrible. The book jumped around and around and was so hard to follow. It was like reading something written by someone who was half squirrel and half crack head. Instead of creating colorful and deep characters using words, he used punctuation. The grandfather spoke using an abundance of useless commas, the grandmother used lots of periods and Mr. Black spoke in sentences using only exclamation points. I was thankful no spoke by asking only questions. If I would have seen a page full of question marks I think I might have thrown the book across the room! I found Oskar to be the only unique and real character in the book, but after awhile he even started to annoy me. His little quirks were too over the top, like the author was trying to compensate and distract the reader from the nonexistent plot. A boy loses his father and finds a key in an envelope with the name "Black" on it. We go through pages and pages of meeting lots of people with the name "Black" only to find out the key had nothing to do with his dad in the first place. He has weird grandparents who like to write him letters about their sex life and who really didn't add anything to the plot of the story that I could tell. Then he digs up his father's empty coffin and fills it with letters, the end. (Seriously?????)

I found the subject matter heart breaking, and did tear up at times, but it's hard not to tear up when anyone talks about that horrible day. I hated the pictures the most. The book had pages of meaningless pictures. But one picture stood out from the rest and made me cringe. He filled over a dozen pages with pictures of someone's loved one falling to their death from one of the burning towers of 9/11. I am outraged by this! Horrible!!!!!!
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Reading Progress

03/05/2012 page 24
7.0% "So touching.. and I love the kid! The writing is a little hard to follow though."
03/06/2012
29.0% "This is so good! But the "he said.. she said, I said" is driving me nuts! I need a consistant format for delivering dialog!"
03/07/2012
40.0% "interesting and funny.. but this writing style is so irritating.. I have no idea who is talking most of the time."
03/08/2012
51.0% "I find it a little disturbing that a grandmother would write to her grandson about how she use to have sex with her husband... ewww" 2 comments
03/09/2012
58.0% "I really wanted to like this book. But I just don't! Oskar.. he is so quirky and funny....(but I'm starting to get annoyed with him.) Some other parts are charming too, like the mute man. But I just can't stand the writing... and I'm about ready to find out what this key is too already! I'm almost at the point where I don't care anymore.."
03/09/2012
58.0% "I hate this so much.. I don't even know if I can finish it.."
03/13/2012
80.0% "Can't wait for this to be over.. I'm so sick of readig about the grandmother's sex habbits!"
03/13/2012
100.0% "What the heck??? I don't get it... I thought in some way the Grandfather and his weird silence was going to tie into the story.. I so don't get it."
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Comments (showing 1-23 of 23) (23 new)

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Rebecca I felt the same way...and then it all clicked for me! x


message 2: by Danielle (new)

Danielle I haven't started it yet. I am dragging my feet...


Christina White I think the pictures were just the straw that broke the camels back for me.. Worst book of the year for me so far!


Jenn(ifer) I remember liking this way back when I read it... but I honestly don't remember it at all!


Laurin I'm not finished yet, but I completely agree! I cannot stand the writing style. The grandfather really adds nothing. Oskar is a bit annoying. I also hate the pictures. I don't need pictures of doorknobs!


message 6: by Susan (new)

Susan The pictures at the end are a flip book, and if you flip through them quickly, instead of seeing a person falling to their death, you see the person rising into the sky. I loved this book, but agree that it is very polarizing and not for everyone.


Christina White Susan wrote: "The pictures at the end are a flip book, and if you flip through them quickly, instead of seeing a person falling to their death, you see the person rising into the sky. I loved this book, but agr..."

That image is a photo someone's loved one in their last moments. It shouldn't be in a flip book.

To each her own though. :) Happy reading


Alexandra Martin I personally think this is the best book of the year. The grandfather's way of writing, the grandmother's letters, the pictures, I enjoyed it all. I never found Oskar annoying. I guess that's because I'm nearer to his age than most of you here? I loved his humor and intelligence. I pitied him and even geared up a bit. I guess the way he is throughout the story is an effect of what his father's death? I mean, if I were nine, and my father passed away, and my mom fell in love with someone else, I'd certainly feel the way Oskar is. Imagine not answering the phone when your father was in a life or death situation! It would really upset me if I didn't talk to him when I had the chance to.

I think I'd continue to babble on about how this book really affected me. Sorry bout that.


Alexandra Martin **teared


Alison I stopped reading after the second chapter. It didn't pull me in at all. After reading your review, I believe we have a similar sentiment.


Stephanie Allen Oh. My. God. I am only half way through the book. Actually, just reached the part where he meets Mr. Black. I was annoyed with Oskar after the first few pages. He is cute in some ways, but to me his little "quirks" - like you said - are way over the top some times. At points he seems to be older than 9 and at others much younger. And that letter from his grandmother?! What in the world?! Why would anyone tell their 9 year-old grandchild about their sex life? I absolutely adore Thomas Sr. Though, I am hoping his story some how ties into the rest. I have a feeling that the author simply had too many stories in his mind and was too lazy to finish each one and instead jammed them into one book.


Christina White Stephanie wrote: "Oh. My. God. I am only half way through the book. Actually, just reached the part where he meets Mr. Black. I was annoyed with Oskar after the first few pages. He is cute in some ways, but to me hi..."

yeah... we are totally on the same page! lol


Deanna Heath I wished I had read your review before I read the book, you would have saved me a lot of time! I couldn't agree more, the time flipping was extremely annoying, and honestly? What 9 year old talks like Oskar? I found myself only finishing it to get to the point, and we never did...or am I alone on that? I was very disappointed, considering the movie trailers made me want to read it...has anyone seen the movie? Is it better than the book?


Christina Hesterman Okay, Iknow that everyone has there own opinions and all but I totally dissagree! Safran Foer has a post modern way of writing (which explains all the random punctuation and choppy sentences) which I beleive make it more interesting. His style of writing kind of reminds me of McCarthy's in the Road which is a book I also really like. (Both these books I read for a contemporary liturature class). I think this book also beautifully expresses the tragic reality of 911 and our desire to see time turn around (which I am preparing a presentation on right now). Also, If you looked at the pictures, they where not random at all. They all connected to a previous (and in very few cases future) part of the story which made it more interesting for me. Yes, the story line did jump around (which I think also comes from a post-modern writing style) but it wasn't hard to follow. It may sometimes take you a while to figure out who's narrating, but that just keeps you concentrated and its impossible to zone out. I also enjoy the many story lines because I get bored of one story line very easily, but this story definintly kept me interested throughout. Well... To each their own.


Amber In regards to the grandparents writing letters to Oskar.... According to the other letters written that were never sent I feel like Oskar will never read these letters either....


message 16: by Liz (new) - rated it 1 star

Liz Thank you for this review! I totally know how you feel!
I had very similar problems with this book!!


Christina White Liz wrote: "Thank you for this review! I totally know how you feel!
I had very similar problems with this book!!"


Thanks for liking it!


Emily I love how direct you are and I also agree. I can't understand how people like this book!


Elicbyfoeristheworstbookever Thank you for your review a lot! Agree with every word of it. I am really happy there are people that hate it at least half as much as me. And you know how they say that everyone should have the own opinion, but the fact that some people (I guess even more than half) like this book is really-really sad. If anyone found this garbage "moooving" then it's not the author that did that, but rather the events themselves, and people are mislead into thinking the author did a good job, so I guess I can understand how one can like it, but still.. horrible!
There should be a book about 9/11 and that is NOT it. What a disrespect to the victims of 9/11. This is like a terrorist attack on literature.


Muhammed Bhatti I found that picture of the ape man and women quite random and disturbing, other than that I'm getting a hard time trying to understand the grandfather character..I mean..he could initially speak in the beginning and suddenly stops talking and point at written words instead? Is that really a condition? I'm sorry for sounding a bit ignorant, I'm still reading the book but also have to force myself to read gramps letter to try and maybe figure out what his ordeal had been?!


Daria I did really enjoy the book, so I do not agree with your review. Although it was hard to read/follow, so I will give you that, but I thought that some of your points were invalid, but we're all entitled to our own opinions, right? Also, you misspelled the main characters' name.


Jenna Gomez Jonathan's style of writing is completely contemporary. I found it really beautiful. The whole point of the key was not to find something that it fits. It was some kind of a last exploration for Oskar and he got to talk to people and travel around New York by himself. It made him conquer his fears.


Jenna Gomez Jonathan's style of writing is completely contemporary. I found it really beautiful. The whole point of the key was not to find something that it fits. It was some kind of a last exploration for Oskar and he got to talk to people and travel around New York by himself. It made him conquer his fears.


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