Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
Synopsis from Goodreads
Jonathan Safran Foer follows his best-selling debut novel, "Everything Is Illuminated," with an unexpectedly hilarious and affecting story about New York City in the period following September 11
"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" recasts recent history through the eyes of Oskar Schell, an unusually intelligent nine-year-old on an urgent quest to find the lock that matches a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center. This unlikely adventure takes Oskar through every city borough and into contact with survivors of all sorts, and it's his irrepressible voice--one that few writers could conceive as imaginatively as Foer does--that transforms the tragedy of circumstance into an exhilarating tribute to love.
This book was freaking AWESOME!!!
It blew me away and I loved every single bit of it!! And I didn't get bored once.
BUT!! I will warn you... I saw the movie first and THEN read the book. I assure you that this book is written very similar to "The Road" and if that book annoyed you then you might not dig this book.
Oskar Schell is a little boy from NYC. His Dad was killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center tragedy. He was going to a business meeting and was there when the planes hit the buildings.
Oskar and his family are very distraught over the whole situation. Who wouldn't be? But the beauty of this book is Oskar's part of the story is told through the eyes of a child. You very much believe that a kid is telling you the story.
Oskar finds a key in his Dad's closet that was tucked inside a vase. He becomes a bit obsessed with trying to figure out where the key fits. They key was in a little envelope with the word 'black' on it. After some help he realizes that 'black' probably means 'Black' and embarks on a journey to find the Black who owns the lock that fits his Dad's key.
You also get to hear the stories of Oskar's grandmother and his grandfather who he has never met.
I found it so so interesting how the stories fit together.
Differences between the movie
I watched the movie last weekend and started reading the book soon after. One big difference in the movie is that a Mr. Black who Oskar meets on his 'key' journey accompanies Oskar to meet most of the Blacks. In the movie it was The Renter.
Only Oskar's tale is told in the movie. In the book you hear how grandpa and grandma met.
A locksmith is not the one who suggests that 'black' could mean "Black".
Oskar's mother never confesses to knowing about the key.
Oskar's mom has a 'friend' over a lot who I assume she was romantically interested in.
Oskar never ever goes up into an upper pantry in his room that has a shrine to his DAD but he does talk about his laboratory. So, it's possible that's what he meant but it's never described.
Mom goes back to work and since we never hear her side of the story in the book she doesn't seem as depressing as she does in the movie. To Oskar he feels she is moving on.
Oskar has a cat.
The Sixth Borough is only mentioned like 2 times. That is not the reason that Oskar is trying to find the lock for the key like in the movie.
I really felt bad for Oskar. Not only did his hero, his Dad, die but he is really an oddball. I loved how he wouldn't cuss and would say thinks like 'succotash my balzac' or 'holy shitake'. I found that cute. My brother and I used to do things like that. But he had quite hipster parents. And this is what makes me sad for the poor little guy. They only let him watch documentaries that they 'ok' and they had to teach him to call his cat a 'pussy'. This is what bothered me. Why on earth would they do that? They aren't English. Did they not realize that this would get him in trouble in the school yard? I mean... that's a grade-A bully set-up.
Poor Oskar has no filter. And that's a good thing and a bad thing. He's not afraid to tell you what he thinks... but he's not at all afraid to listen to everything you have to say. I found him quite a refreshing character. In a way he reminded me of Marcus Brewer from "About A Boy". They were both ate similar and played tambourine and are both socially awkward.
There are significant TIMES told throughout the book concerning 9/11. What I mean is they told what time was with every message Oskar's Dad left. I had a problem with this and I'm glad they were mentioned in the movie so I could ask my husband about it. I didn't watch the towers fall. Nor did I really know anything that was going on in the world on 9/11/2001. The factory I worked in never told us anything. The world was falling apart and those with walkmans had a small idea what was going on but we didn't know the whole story. So, when the towers fell (the time is mentioned) I was rather confused when reading and watching.
All in all
If you liked the movie then you are going to love the book even more! I really think that this should be required reading for high school kids.