Posted by: mf1014 | December 6, 2011

Never forget the day, when suddenly the world changed.

“You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness” This is the one of the memorable words that main character, Oskar Schell said in the book. This is a fictional story based on 9.11 incident in 2001. Oskar and his family is the casualty of 9.11. Oskar’s has lost his beloved father in the world trade center attack and now lives with his mother. After two years passed from the 9.11, he found a key with a note that said “Black” in father’s study room. From this day, his exploring starts in the city of Manhattan to find where the key belongs. Oskar faces with many unforgettable encounters during the adventure and his character development is very intense. As nine years old boy, he had suffered many pangs. His biggest suffer that turned out as long-term trauma was the memory of dad’s last call from the world trade center.

The intersection of Oskar’s grief and his grandfather’s woe is an important key in this story. Although it is set in modern days, the chapters flow alternately with Oskar’s story and the grandfather’s story in Dresden during the war.

Historically, only a short time has passed since 9.11. The scar of all the families who lost fathers, mothers and children are never eased. The author doesn’t use cheap sentimentalism to draw in the readers. He tries to tell the reality of a tragic event but does not mean to make us reader to feel sympathy for it.

This is not a difficult read, but a challenging one that is tough in places, as it is three different stories narrated from three different voices, all in first person. All three stories are shuffled together to establish a one deep story. It may be confusing where there are also blank pages, pages of nothing but numbers, pages of scribbles…. And many other “weird” pages in the book. However if you think this as the author’s device, it is acceptable and interesting.

Overall, this is an amazing book and I would like to recommend everyone to have a try reading. The story will take you into the mind of Oskar Schell and the hearts and homes of wide New York City. You will face with the truth of the Dresden fire bombing, the nuclear strike on Hiroshima and at last, the attacks upon the World Trade Center. It is filled with love, betrayal, abandonment, pain and heartache. The themes seem to be heavy but it is not a sad story. The book, “EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE” by Jonathan Safran Foer is a story of a boy who overcomes his sad memories.


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