I just finished reading Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, my first leisure book of the break. I love leisure reading. I read all semester long for class, so you'd think I'd be booked out; however, I find few things as enjoyable as plopping down on the couch with a good, leisure book in hand. I read so much at school, but it's never quite like reading something I read just because I want to read it. I can analyze as much as I want; I can retain as much as I please; I don't get a grade; I don't take reading quizzes. I read because I want to.
I really enjoyed this book. I've read this author's first book, Everything Is Illuminated, and like Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close better. For those of you who haven't read it, the plot follows the story of a nine-year-old boy, Oskar, trying to connect with his father, who died in the WTCs on September 11. The subplot, which eventually ties in with the big story, centers on the boy's grandparents, who survived the WWII Dresdan bombing. I thought that the story was fascinating, and most of all, the narration style was captivating; I felt that the narration style was hyper stream-of-consciousness, which I didn't think I'd like, but I surprised myself.
I thought the character development was superb and the emotion in the pages profound. However, I felt very dissatisfied with the very very end. I liked the part with Oskar talking with his mother, but when Oskar wishes to rewind life, I felt depressed. The story does have a depressing underlying tone, because the characters don't believe in God and often feel hopeless themselves, but I thought that maybe the ending would contain some thread of hope for the future and for happiness. I didn't pick up on such an ending message. I was able to find traces of hope in my reading but felt let down the last page or so.
For those of you who have read this book, what did you think? I really really really liked the book, almost surprisingly so, but the ending left me unsettled and sad for the characters. Is that how you felt? If haven't read it, I highly recommend it. It reads fast and is incredibly captivating, I think. Once you read it, let me know what you think. I'm still processing.