Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was one of those books that I heard of because it was being made into a movie. I know, I shouldn’t be reading books because they are being made into movies but hey, I can’t help that ABC Family has so many commercials! Anyway, I read lots of great reviews and such about this book and so I thought “hey I will give it a shot” because almost every book is worth reading…besides Twilight of course. Those books fit the exception and are okay to burn.
But enough of my dislike for Twilight rant…lets get onto the review. When I started reading ELaIC, I found it to be very intriguing and personal but also very confusing. The book is split into 3 point of views. The main point of view and focus of the book is on Oskar, a boy who lives in New York City with his mother when the planes crash into the twin towers on 9/11. Oskar is an atheist and an inventor. He is always honest and can’t understand why his mother doesn’t seem to be grieving over the loss of his father as much as he is. The thing Oskar seems to miss the most about his father is their bonding time. Oskar’s dad was very inventive and came up with incredible stories and games that gave strength to the father son bond. Early on in the book, after his father’s death, Oskar finds a key inside an envelope with the name “Black” written on it. Convinced that his dad gave him one final mystery mission, he sets out to find where the key fits.
The two other narrators of the story is Oskar’s grandmother and absent grandfather. Each of these points of views are written in the form of letters. The letters mostly talk about the past and are either written out to Oskar or Oskar’s dad. Oskar’s grandfather talks about why he was absent and why he comes to be a mute. Oskar’s grandmother talks about her marriage to a man who was never really in love with her to begin with but sought her as a comfort and it became something more.
One strength I found in the novel was that it challenged all the rules of fiction writing. Nothing was in order or quite explained. The fault I found however was that this strength also proved to be a weakness. By the end of the novel, I couldn’t figure out what it was trying to say nor did I understand how the letters from Oskar’s grandparents had anything to do with the plot of Oskar and this random key. At times I was moved but the little moments didn’t add up like they do in other novels. I would have liked to have seen some more explanation as to how Oskar grew as a person and a clearer explanation of what the hell went on with his grandparents because I have never been more confused in my life. It seems like a book I will have to read a second time to understand. Overall I will give the book 3 out of 5 stars. It was creative but as I said, very confusing and all over the place.