If I were to take a test on Jonathan Safran Foer's newest book, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, I'm not sure I'd come out with a high score. There is much in the book I found confusing, and I'm pretty sure I didn't connect all the dots. Yet, Foer's book made me think really hard, and look at the events of 9/11 from an entirely new perspective. In fact, I doubt I'll ever see 9/11 the same way again, and I thank Foer for this.
Oskar Schell, an unusual, highly intelligent, amusing 9-year-old boy, finds a key tucked inside a blue vase high up on a shelf in his father's bedroom closet, one year after Oskar's father, Thomas Schell, is killed in the Twin Towers on 9/11. One word is written on the envelope holding the key - “Black.” That one word launches Oskar on a quest – to find the lock the key fits into – and to find the lock, Oskar reasons, he must find the person
named “Black.” Oskar's search takes him all over New York City, and to get there, he must face and conquer many fears, including (but not limited to): public transportation, elevators, bridges and loud noises.
The illustrations and photographs are intrinsic to this story, especially the ones at the end. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a tribute of sorts, to those who died in 9/11, those who didn't die, and a testament to what it takes to survive.
Length: 326 pages
Worth Your Time? Yes. Classified as Adult Fiction, this book was published in 2005.
Bonus: Based on Foer's novel, the movie (starring Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and Thomas Horn) was recently released on DVD. Shown in theaters in 2011 and 2012, it received mixed reviews.