Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is one for the Books


Ava Stathakis , Public Relations/Marketing Manager

The title itself is long, confusing, and does not make any sense. That in a nutshell is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close written by Jonathan Safran Foer. Just flipping through the book you see random red that at first you believe is from the prior owner, overlapping print that makes it seems like the printer screwed up, and images upon images of what seems like the most random things ever.

The book itself is actually about a young boy named Oskar Schell who suffers from asperger’s, and how his father, Thomas Schell,  died during the 9/11 attacks. This is no spoiler, it is found within the first chapter of the book. Wanting to revisit the memory of his father, Oskar decides to go into his father’s closet and as he is reaching for something on the top shelf he hits a vase over and it breaks revealing a small envelope that contains a key. Upon further inspection, the envelope that Oskar found had the name Black written on it. This envelope sparks the adventure that Oskar will embark on throughout the book.

Other characters include Linda Schell, who is still hurting from the death of her husband but seems to have moved on due to the fact that she has a boyfriend who’s name is Ron. Although he is not a huge part of the book he is still notable. Another rather important character is Oskar’s grandmother. It seems that she is the only one that Oskar feels comfortable talking to about what is happening in his life.  There is also Mr. Black, who is one of the first Blacks Oskar meets on his adventure, not only does Oskar let him into his life but also into hi heart. Mr. Black goes on all the adventures having to do with the key with Oskar, and the bond created between these two characters seems more like  a father son relationship rather than a friendship and that is just what Oskar needed after the passing of his father.

Throughout this adventure, the book goes off on random tangents that at first seem to not go along with the theme at all. But in the end, all of the odd pages, letters from a mysterious person, and everything else that makes the book odd and individual finally tie together. The adventure involves Oskar and eventually Mr. Black going and seeing everyone with the last name black to see if they know anything about the key, this creates a very long and emotional journey for not only the people Oskar meets but himself as well.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a book filled with the emotions of a nine year old boy who doesn’t quite understand why he’s feeling the way he does because everything in his mind doesn’t make sense. It’s definitely worth the read, but be ready to feel like you don’t know anything compared to Oskar, to be completely and utterly confused and frustrated at times, and to ride an emotional rollercoaster alongside Oskar.