What makes this book one of my favorites is its honesty. The characters are real. The plot is real. Granted, I knew nothing about foster care before IWhat makes this book one of my favorites is its honesty. The characters are real. The plot is real. Granted, I knew nothing about foster care before I read this book a few years ago, but it feels real enough to me. I also love this movie, but the movie leaves out a few really great foster homes, for instance the home in which the foster children are starved. I'd just never thought about these tragedies, but I know they exist. My version of this book includes an interview with Janet Fitch, and I love the way she describes Ingrid Magnussen: "I think everyone has an aspect of themselves that doesn't want to care about other people, that just wants the absolute freedom. But we are more compassionate than that. We realize that in the long run, relationships have so much to offer, but you have to give into that relationship to get anything back. And Ingrid is willing to sacrifice everything for her individual freedom." Astrid is a very relatable character, especially for adolescent girls and young women. There's a profound growth in her character throughout the book, which is particularly visible in her attitude toward her poisonous mother. Her love and admiration for Ingrid eventually morph into a vile hatred. I love the line in the poem she sends to her mother: "Sack it, mother. Take what you can before it all burns to ash." This is simply a wonderfully lyrical book that left me thinking about who I am and how the people in my life have shaped me. It's profound and sad, and I love it. I prefer the end of the movie to the end of the book, but that's really my only complaint. ...more
This is one of my favorite books for many reasons. Oskar is a wonderful character. I love all the magical things he invents, and this is obviously a rThis is one of my favorite books for many reasons. Oskar is a wonderful character. I love all the magical things he invents, and this is obviously a reflection of Foer's intelligence. I love how you can forget about certain inventions and when you re-read about them you can marvel at them all over again. I think everyone should invent things the way Oskar does. Think of how many wonderful inventions we could have altogether. Adults are afraid of their own imaginations, and Foer really captures a nine-year old's mind in his writing. It makes me wonder if I was ever so creative. When Oskar meets Mr. Black for the first time, I love how honest he is in his description of him. I think he called him "weird-looking." In my opinion, what makes a book worth re-reading is that you can miss out on so much the first time around. This idea is what separates my favorite books from books I really like. There's a romance in this book, as well as in Everything is Illuminated, that pulls you into its world. You love every second of it, even if it's a tragic second, simply because you feel like the world is yours. For example, the part where we learn that Grandmother has been typing without a ribbon makes you feel terrible . . . but it's really great. Can Foer be a romantic and a sadist at once? Another favorite part of this book is the story of the sixth borough. It's just a great tale. In the end, I'm not sure if I like this book as much as Everything is Illuminated simply because of the subplot. Don't get me wrong, I like the subplot in this book, but if I can remember correctly I was a lot more interested in Brod's world.
On a tangent note, I also love all the little French phrases that Oskar uses, especially since I just got back from France. ...more
I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. It went downhill from there. I loved the bits about his mother being so ill, him being so paranoid aboutI really enjoyed the beginning of this book. It went downhill from there. I loved the bits about his mother being so ill, him being so paranoid about what would happen when she died. I wish Eggers would've kept the mother alive for a larger portion in the book. It's a pretty well-balanced plot. It flips between the main character's own thoughts, the death of his parents and where it has led him, and his relationship with his little brother Toph. The parts with Toph I find most interesting. I wish Eggers would have created more dramatic, almost unbelievable things to happen to these characters. Being interviewed for The Real World? Yes. I wanted more of that. Something interesting is bound to be happening in California. It's just not happening to them. Overall, it was too long and uninteresting. It doesn't help that you have to look up a bunch of words every few pages. ...more
Changed my rating to 4 stars after re-reading it after 4 years. It's so beautifully written. Horrible, but tangible characters that you just want to rChanged my rating to 4 stars after re-reading it after 4 years. It's so beautifully written. Horrible, but tangible characters that you just want to reach out and strangle. Wonderfully-crafted story. ...more