Oh hey, friends! After a nice, long winter break hiatus, MacKenzie Rae Reads is back in action! I’ll admit I was entirely poor at keeping up my blog over the holidays, but I was an EXTREMELY successful reader, so that should count for something, yeah? Lots of new reviews headed your way. Promise. Here’s one of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I’d always wanted to read it, and when I saw that the movie was coming out (<3 ya, Tom Hanks) it moved to the top of my “Must Read” list. Let’s be honest, I’m probably never going to see the movie, because A) I rarely see movies in theatres, because I’d rather spend $30 on something else, thanks, and B) I heard it was pretty underwhelming. Why isn’t anything described as simply “whelming?” It’s always over or under. Anyways… I did enjoy the book!
Reasons to Read It:
1) Cool, experimental visuals - A friend of mine recently told me that I always use the adjective “cool” when my brain is on autopilot and when I’m clearly not paying attention to the conversation (thanks, Eli), BUT I think “cool” is a great descriptor for EL&IC’s layout. It’s filled with edgy photography, colored text, even a chapter with words getting gradually smaller and more condensed until overlapping and illegible. Not your typical 12 point Times New Roman novel. (Liv, you worked in publishing… what font do most books use?)
2) The tenant character- I particularly enjoyed the tenant character and his subplot. I actually found this subplot more interesting than the main plot (hmm…), but anyways. The tenant character is this old man that has gone mute (see back story), and yet has a profound love of language. He writes in little books to converse, and has tattoos of “yes” and “no,” on his palms. He’s rad, and one of the more intriuging additions to the book.
3) In memorial - EL&ICprovides an extremely realistic and touching view on the 9/11 tragedy. As a west coast (best coast) resident, I did not see the devastating effects of the attacks on the Twin Towers personally, and this novel provided me with a different perspective than what I encountered at the time. Foer handles the topic with maturity and delicacy, but with honesty and emotion, as well. It captures both the gravity and intimacy of 9/11, which I find can be lost in news reports or nonfiction works.
Reason I Wasn’t In Love:
1) Forced Originality…? - It’s hard for me to truly identify why I didn’t 100% love this book, as there wasn’t anything that I adamantly disliked about it. However, the one main issue I had was while Foer is clearly an inventive author, I thought that the originality of the plot and characters seemed a bit forced at times, particularly with Oskar, the main character. I wanted to buy in to his obscurity and quirkiness, but at certain moments I was unconvinced. Call me “unenlightened,” but I found some of it to be odd for the sake of being odd, and not necessarily beneficial to the novel as a whole.
Overall, I’d give it 4 stars. Definitely worth reading. I hope to start his first book Everything is Illuminated soon! I’ve heard through the grapevine that it’s better.
Currently Reading: World Without End by Ken Follett. (Ken… I love ya, but your website is horrible). It’s the sequal to Pillars of the Earth, which is one of my favorites of all time! READ IT NOW.
That’s all this time! Thanks for reading! Follow me please :)