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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close | Jonathan Safran Foer | Reviewed by Laura

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

This was not a book that started off on my ‘to-read’ list, but I am one of those people that have to read the book before watching the film. So when I saw the trailer and wanted to see the film I knew it was time to buy this book. I had no expectations as I hadn't looked at previous reviews or ratings – I didn't even read the blurb before I started (Which is unheard of!)

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close tells the tale of a 9 year old who is overwhelmed by life and his own inventing thoughts. It includes real life events which affected far too many lives, making this story both haunting and heart-warming. I was skeptical due to the child narrative which holds most of this book (as I have previously struggled with them), however it was this narrative which helped me engage with the storyline and admire this small boy whose emotions shone through the pages due to his overwhelming reactions to what he has already been through in his short life.

Now I come onto the story structure and this is where I struggled with the book. The events (especially as being linked to real life events) were intense and captivating; however the way that they were laid out was where I started to struggle. The shifts in narrative, empty pages, pictures and letter style writing did not connect with me well at all. I found it confusing and often had to check back and re-read to work out exactly what was happening.

When I got about half way through the book however things started to turn around, maybe because I got used to the style or because the storyline was starting to become clearer, I don’t know. But I did really find myself getting into the book and actually wanting to pick it up each night rather than forcing myself to.

As I mentioned I found the characters extremely interesting, I don’t want to give anything away – but I have never read a story with characters like these and this made them all the more intriguing. Therefore overall I did enjoy this book; I think it just took me a little while to really connect with it due to the format that it’s written in. I would recommend this book and I definitely need to see the film.

3/5 stars

This post was written by regular reviewer Laura, get to know her here.
*Photo © Laura


  1. Sounds like an interesting style of writing, i usually like books like this so might give it a go :) x

  2. Anonymous10:36 pm

    I'll admit, the structure was weird for me at first too. I do recall some flipping backwards and forwards. But once I got past that, I allowed myself to become really invested in the story and characters.

  3. Cool post dear :)

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  4. I'm another one that struggles with structures like this - I hated Perks of Being a Wallflower at first because of the whole "letter" format but really enjoyed the storyline.

    This has been on my to-read list for a considerable amount of time now, will really have to get round to reading it!


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