Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer I haven't written a real review in a long time, so ... yeah. I'm a little rusty. It's been, like, a month. Blame all the final projects I had to finish. On the bright side, I finished my first semester of college! Yay! Of course, that's straying from the actual review part of this review. So, here goes.At first, I was a bit torn between giving this book 3 and 4 stars. But after thinking about it for a while, I've decided it was more of a 3 for me. So … I was drawn to this book mostly because I adore the cover and the title. Not gonna lie. I knew what it was about, and I was a little wary of reading it. But I decided to anyway. I haven't read Everything is Illuminated, so I don't know how the two books compare––but several people have told me it's better than this book. So, I'll most likely give it a try at some point. But anyway. This book. My biggest problem with this book is, it's hard to see past the fact that it's about 9/11, which is something anyone whose been alive for the past decade can relate to. In a way, I felt like the author was sort of unfairly using the tragic event to appeal to more readers.I was 9 years old when the attacks happened––the same age as the narrator of this book, Oskar. I remember being old enough to understand what had happened and be upset about it, but not old enough to really grasp the true horrors of what had occurred and what the long-term consequences would be. Of course, unlike him, I don't live very close to New York City and I didn't lose anyone on that day. There are many more people who were more closely impacted by the event, but everyone in the country was affected to some degree. So, when reading this book, it's difficult not to think of our own personal experiences associated with 9/11. And no, there's not necessarily anything wrong with that. It would have been better if Foer had made the book more about how the attacks changed everything and everyone. That's what I expected the book to be about. Instead, it was about a little boy wandering around trying to find a lock to the key he found in his dead father's closet. And then every other chapter is about his grandparents having sex––well, not literally, but that's the general idea. The fact that the father died on 9/11 seemed almost irrelevant. He could have died any other way in the world, and the book still would have been exactly the same. It's the fact that it was about 9/11 that it drew in so many readers and evoked their sympathy. And then we have Oskar, our main character … I just couldn't bring myself to like him or believe in him. It seemed like Foer tried to take the Holden Caulfield (from Catcher in the Rye) and Christopher Boone (from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and combine them into one character. Except, Oskar is not as compelling as either of the aforementioned characters. While the autistic child's voice felt more authentic in something like The Curious Incident…, it felt forced to me in this book. It felt more like an excuse for a child to have more profound thoughts and be more eloquent than other children. So I have to say, I just didn't feel much of a connection with him. Then there was the writing style, which drove me kind of insane. I don't mind stream-of-consciousness and postmodernism and all that jazz. In fact, it's how I tend to write myself. Except, well, I try to edit down my writing and make it understandable for other people. A lot of dialogue especially rambled on for an unnecessarily long time. I understand trying to capture the awkwardness of everyday conversation, but there's a point where it just gets kind of frustrating to read. At the very least, Foer could have bothered to put paragraph breaks in dialogue so I could tell who the heck was actually speaking. And then there were the chapters in the grandfather's point of view which had no paragraph breaks at all. Don't even get me started. But anyway. The style did work to some degree, but most of the time it just felt forced and pretentious to me. Now, I don't want to make it sound like I hated this book, because I didn't. It was still enjoyable to some extent. Although a lot of it fell flat for me, there were a handful of quite powerful parts also––for instance, when the grandfather realized how he never really knew his son who died, and the very last page when Oskar imagines the whole tragic day going backwards. There were parts such as these that did feel like a punch in the stomach and did have a solid, emotional impact.So in conclusion, I do recommend the book. But I can't promise that everyone will enjoy it. It is rather disjointed and confusing, and it does feel pretentious at times. But at the very least, it's a story pretty much anyone can relate to.