There are few books that I own that I would say have had extreme emotional impact on me upon reading them. Two of my favorites: The Secret Life of Bees and Memoirs of a Geisha would definitely be placed with my newest novel: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. When I find such books it becomes difficult for me to put them down and I usually stay up all night reading so I can find out what happened. For me, this makes the story teller truly a master at their craft. With this book however, I did have to put it down, not because I did not want to know what happened next but because it invoked such an emotional response that I would need a break to digest the pages I had just read.
The story of Oskar Schell, a nine year old boy who loses his father in the World Trade Center bombings, weaves through his life and that of his grandmother and grandfather, who came to the US after bombings Dresden, Germany. Oskar finds a key in his fathers belongings that he hopes will lead to some sort information about his father and help him to maintain a connection to him. As the scenes unfold, you learn about love and loss through characters that Oskar meets and also through the family he lives with.
The imagery, photographs and character descriptions help the author to achieve such a height of being one with the characters that it is hard to believe that the story is fiction. One of my favorite pieces in the book is a business card that Oskar created for himself for his travels, it reads:
"Oskar Schell - Inventor, jewelry designer, jewelry fabricator, amateur entomologist, francophile, vegan, origamist, pacifist, percussionist, amateur astronomer, computer consultant, amateur archeoligist, collector of: coins, butterflies that died natural deaths, miniature cacti, Beatles memorabilia, semiprecious stones, and other things..."
If we could only be as sure as ourselves in adulthood as this little boy was at the age of 9...think what the world could achieve?....
Have a great day.