Wednesday, 13 February 2013

February 2011 - Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Overall we thought that Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was an interesting but very good book. Most members mainly enjoyed reading Oscar’s parts, but found themselves getting a little confused over the grandparents stories, some members admitting that they skimmed over these parts. Everyone at the meeting had completed, or almost completed the book, and we did feel it’s one that grows on you as you read on.

The structure of the book was generally well liked, although some readers didn’t like the sentence structure and the way the grandparents stories were told, which lead to some confusion over who said what. Although the sentences in Oscar’s story, was fast paced, perhaps this was to portray the quick conversation that children tend to have. The pictures were enjoyed by all, adding an interactive element to the book.

Oscar was really well liked by everyone, a few members picked out from the book that he seemed Autistic, whether or not that was the intention of the author. The mother added confusion to the book, by allowing her child to explore New York on his own, even once this was further explained at the end, we still couldn’t believe a mother would allow this. The grandmother was generally more liked than the grandfather, both having believable elements to their stories, such as why they acted the way they did after the bombing of Dresden.

In terms of the plot, in the most part it was hugely believable as it was based around 9/11, but on a side scale, the way the author captured the grief and bereavement, especially from Oscar’s point of view was extremely touching; his self harming adding to this.

Our members were touched or shocked by so many aspects of this book, to name a few without going into too much detail were: The phone messages – Dad’s last words, and why did he not say “I love you”? The detail of the night Dresden was bombed, Hiroshima – Detail of people searching for loved ones, and the maggots, the grandmother never getting the affection she always craved.

I think that the ending divided the group. Half of the members  were disappointed that the mission to find out what the key was for didn’t really have any big revelation, feeling cheated that you had read so much without the big secret! Others were pleased that it seemed to provide closure, drawing everything together, especially bringing Oscar and his much closer – When he said he didn’t mind if she fell in love again, this showed a lot of answers had been found from Oscar, and that the mother had dealt with Oscar’s grieving the right way, by letting him go about with his investigation.

We had 9 members attend the meet tonight, and the book was scored an average of 7.2 out of 10, the lowest score being 5 and the highest 9.

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