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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Book Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

BOOK review
Started on: 3.April.2012
Finished on: 5.April.2012

Title : Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Author : Jonathan Safran Foer
Publisher : Penguin Books
Number of Pages : 326 Pages
Year of Publication : 2006
Price: $8.52 (

because this review is considered long, you will need to click on Read More to see the full review.
thank you ;*

"What the? I opened it up, and inside there was a key. What the, what the? It was a weird-looking key, obviously to something extremely important, because it was fatter and shorter than a normal key. I couldn't explain it: a fat and short key, in a little envelope, in a blue vase, on the highest shelf in his closet."

This is a story told by a 9-year-old boy named Oskar Schell - a letter-writer, jewelry maker, and inventor - who just lost his Father in the 9/11 tragedy. A little more than a year after the tragedy happened, Oskar found a blue vase inside his Father's closet. When Oskar accidentally broke it, he found an envelope with a key inside. On the envelope is written the word "Black". At that moment, Oskar's journey in finding the lock for that key begins. Thinking that this was one of his Father's riddle that he needs to solve; and somehow thinking this is a way to make him feel closer to his dead Father.

"They gave me heavy boots, because it reminded me of the lock that I still hadn't found, and how until I found it, I didn't love Dad enough."

I tried the key in all the doors, even though he said he didn't recognize it. It's not that I didn't trust him, becuase I did. It's that at the end of my search I wanted to be able to say: I don't know how I could have tried harder.”

After various research, Oskar found out that Black is a person's last name. So he started visiting everyone with the last name Black every weekend. This led him to find many kinds of people and Oskar got to know each of them well - especially since Oskar is a very friendly and intelligent boy. He even got accompanied by Mr. black, who live above his apartment, and become good friends with him. But, even though Oskar searched so hard for the lock which the key would open, he seems to find nothing related to his father.

"Oh, well! So many people enter and leave your life! Hundreds of thousands of people! You have to keep the door open so they can come in! But it also means you have to let them go!"

“In the end, everyone loses everyone. There was no invention to get around that, and so I felt, that night, like the turtle that everything else in the universe was on top of.” 

Oskar's journey in finding out the mystery of the key also led him to find his Grandpa - which he never met or even knew before; because his Grandpa left even before Oskar's Father was born. Through a series of letters written by Oskar's Grandma and Grandpa, the history of the family slowly unfolds. How Oskar's Grandpa also lost his loved one in a bombing tragedy, which then caused him unable to speak. These letters tells a different story of how Oskar's Grandpa had a terribly difficult time recovering from that lost - probably just like how Oskar was feeling about the lost of his father.

And so, this story is not only about revealing the mystery of the key, but also a story of lost and recovery. How a person lose someone they love, and they had to recover from that lost, especially with the help of other people. Enjoy Oskar's adventure in revealing the mystery of the key, and going through emotional adventure of love and life.

"I felt, that night, on that stage, under that skull, incredibly close to everything in the universe, but also extremely alone. I wondered for the first time in my life, if life was worth all the work it took to live. What exactly made it worth it? What's so horrible about being dead forever, and not feeling anything, and not even dreaming? What's so great about feeling and dreaming?"

I have to say I had a difficult time summarizing the plot, so I just wrote a little bit. I'd rather talk more about the things that amazed me in this book! And I really have to say that this book gave me tons of mixed feelings. It confused me at first, it made me raised my eyebrows, made me sad, made me happy, made me cry towards the end of the book, and it definitely breaks my heart many many times. In a short way, I have to say that reading this book has been an emotional journey. So, here's the list of the things I like! :)) I hope it's not going to be too long.

♥1. First of all, I'm really impressed with the title of this book; somehow it triggers curiosity and sounds very poetic at the same time. After reading the book, I found out that Oskar used the term "extremely" and "incredibly" many times; whether it was about a sound of laughter that's extremely loud, the sound of music, even the sound of pessimistic thoughts inside his head; and used incredibly for when someone gets incredibly close to him, seeing someone incredibly old, and even when he feels incredibly lonely. But the true meaning behind it, I guess you just have to read it for yourself and enjoy the whole package :))

♥2. As for the plot, at first I thought this whole book is only about the key and finding the lock. But as I finished reading the book, I knew I was completely wrong. It was also about people who went through awful tragedies and suffered from it, losing people they love; and how they recover from those pains. The book is composed of 3 writings: the first one is by Oskar, the second is letters written by Oskar's Grandpa to Oskar's Father, and the third is Oskar's Grandma to Oskar (might sound confusing, but I get used to it after a while). In Oskar's story, he tells his journey in finding the lock to the key he found - in a way he wants to be closer with his Father who already died. But for me personally, I think the story of Oskar's Grandparents felt stronger and somehow seems like it was the main point of the book. For the ending, everything feels perfect and I didn't want it to end in any other way.

♥3. The emotions in this book are very well delivered. More than once, I stopped reading at a page because I was too stunned and speechless with the emotions flowing over me. There are also times when I read a part for many times because I want to absorb every meaning of it, because the story was so beautifully written. I love it how almost at the end, the story reveals the love given by Oskar's Mom, even though it wasn't shown much in the story (this made me cry, by the way). All those emotions made this book feels really heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time.

♥4. I love Oskar's character in this book. He's got that innocence of a 9-year-old boy, but with great intelligence and imagination. He's such a friendly person and - from what I've read in the book - is very likable. I also love how he use phrases like "wearing heavy boots" and "feeling like one hundred dollars" which I find is a really cute way to express feelings. Reading this book makes me feel like I know him personally; that's how great this character is. My second favorite character is Mr. Black who lives in 6A. Well, this is one of the character that made me cry (and I'm not telling the reason why). Even though he's more than 100 years old, he's such a strong character with a kind and loving heart.

♥5.  I absolutely love love love the way this book is written. Very beautiful, poetic, with lots of fascinating quotes I want to keep reading over and over again. Some quotes even makes me think about my own life, makes me reflect on myself, makes me think about the world,  and those quotes made me learn something. As I've said many times in my other reviews, I extremely love a book that gives me life lessons. Below are some of my favorite quotes - I've got plenty more, but I don't want this to be extremely long.

"I regret that it takes a life to learn how to live, Oskar. Because if I were able to live my life again, I would do things differently. I would change my life."
"When I heard that your organization was recording testimonies, I knew I had to come. She died in my arms, saying "I don't want to die." That is what death is like. It doesn't matter what uniforms the soldiers are wearing. It doesn't matter how good the weapons are. I thought if everyone could see what I saw, we would never have war anymore."
Why didn't I learn to treat everything like it was the last time. My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future.”
"I had never told her how much I loved her.
She was my sister. We slept in the same bed.
There was never a right time to say it.
It was always unnecessary...
There would be other nights.
And how can you say I love you to someone you love?
I rolled onto my side and fell asleep next to her.
Here is the point of everything I have been trying to tell you, Oskar.
It's always necessary.
I love you,

♥6. The picture above shows extremely unique things I found in the book; which I'm pretty sure I won't be able to find in any other book (up until now). Actually there are more, but only showed this 2 that completely surprised me. I don't know if it can be seen well, but the first one is 2 pages full of conversation in numbers. The second one is actually 3 pages full of tightly spaced writings - so close that the letters can't be seen. I won't tell what are these, but they're from the same character. I also love how there are pictures in the book, makes me feel I'm part of the story as well :))

Without wanting to make this review much more longer, I would like to say I am absolutely awed by this book. Not only because it was very deep and emotional for me, but I also found this book very unique and different - in a good way. Would definitely read Foer's other works such as Everything is Illuminated and Eating Animals :))

This book is also available in Indonesian, published by Mahda Books. Below is the goodreads link.

I'm going to watch the movie, and i hope the movie adaptation will be as wonderfully emotional as the book. For those of you who haven't seen this movie, here's the movie trailer :)) Honestly, I'm so so excited! :D

is this a really long review? sorry.
by the way, i changed my header for this month. 
hope you guys like it! :))

5/5 stars
by.stefaniesugia♥ .


  1. seems to be a beautiful and poetic book! suka reviewnya, jadi bener2 pengen baca.. :)

  2. wooow! Stef baca reviewmu jadi pengen baca ulang buku yang membuatku puyeng ini! haha.

    1. hihihi, mudah2an baca yg kedua kali nggak puyeng lagi y ;D

  3. Ah gw baru beli harganya 15 rebu + ongkir 5 rb
    Bukunya kereennnn... filmnya jga.
    Nice deep review though :-) I love it.

  4. Nice review, I'd have to agree with you it has to sum up the plot! It is such a complex book but it is so deep and there are so many great levels to it.
    I studied this book for my dissertation and wrote my own review on it so let me know what you think:


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