This is what I spent my weekend reading. Sean is lost somewhere in the Song of Ice and Fire series (by a guy who, in my uneducated opinion, wants to be Tolkien), so I had plenty of time to start a new book.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close tells the story of a young Oskar Schell, a boy whose father died in the September 11th attacks. Oskar finds a key in his father’s closet in an envelope with the name “Black” written on it. He believes it’s a clue his father left him (as they often did “reconnaissance missions”) and sets off on a book-long journey through New York city to find the door that his key unlocks.
Along the way he meets people at all stages of life, throughout their journeys, in the process of love, healing, remembering, etc. It’s a beautiful story of grief and healing, relationships and love. Intertwined in Oskar’s hunt is a series of letters written by his grandmother and grandfather, who led interesting lives themselves, and have quite lovely stories to tell as well.
This is not a crying book. Believe me, I’m the top crier when it comes to reading even remotely sad things. While you find yourself rooting for Oskar, who sees the world in a way no other human could, you don’t get buried in the grief he’s experiencing.
The book is great in that it offers illustrations of sorts, and the final illustration is mesmerizing. I spent a long time examining it and contemplating the philosophies behind it.
There are many philosophical moments within the book that leaving searching for answers and wondering if any 8-year-old ever thought those things. Kids can be the most philosophical without even knowing it. It was a lovely way to spend a weekend. I recommend you pick it up and check it out, too.