Saturday, 12 January 2008

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Last year for my birthday my roommate gave me a book. At first, it thrilled me. I love reading more than anything. However, after reading the description on the back, i became less than enthusiastic. The book revolved around a 9-year-olds ability to cope with his father's death in the 9/11 attacks. I was wary of this subject and how opinionated the plot line might be. So i put off reading it for over a year. However, I just recently pulled it off my shelves and decided to give it a go.
The book started off with simple narrative. Although, it was far from simple, being written from the perspective of a behaviorally challenged boy. He wears only white clothes, cannot control his emotions, is a vegan and loves all rational thought. His story is a chronicle of his search for the remnants of his father's life. What makes this different from the any other quest is the prose itself. It switches back and forth between several different perspectives and writing styles. It takes awhile to get used to them, due to the lack of background information, but by the end they are more mentally accessible. Also included are full-page pictures, which truly help the reader enter the mind of Oskar, the main character. 
The downfall of this book was the emotional effect it had on me while reading it. The first person view often caused me to feel the same overwhelming emotions plaguing Oskar. I often had to put the book down after a chapter or two just to remind myself that I was sane. As his search takes the focus off of his habits it becomes easier to read in larger chunks. 
Another disappointment was the ending. It was rather anti-climactic and left me wanting more of a resolution. There were still loose ends that had been unraveled and re-braided but not tied off, causing some confusion. The overall cohesion is lacking in places as well. 
All in all I would recommend this book, for there is much wisdom and truly touching sentiments. However, this book must be approached with caution by any reader who is not used to the weird or alternative. 

1 comment:

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