“I regret that it takes a life to learn how to live.” —Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The very first thing I must say about this book is that it is very spastic. There are two different stories being told from two different aspects which makes the stories very hard to follow. The beginning of the book doesn’t quite make this clear because there is no definitive transition from person (a) to person (b). The shift in perspective also brings the shift in storyline but the stories are not always linear. Because the book is based on memories of people, there are many flashbacks that aren’t always easily identified and are hard to follow.
The conversations are also sometimes hard to follow because of the writing of them. Instead of breaking the conversation up by paragraph per person, they are all written within the same paragraph with only quotations separating them, which causes confusion. Maybe it was my own way of reading but I just felt as though the conversation was going back and forth really quickly with very few pauses. Again, this could have been the way I read it, but I think it was because of the writing of the paragraphs.
Although it isn’t stated in the text blankly, I believe that the boy is most likely autistic or has some other mental disability. I see this because his thoughts wander quickly but mostly because he “invents” things. Now, inventing can be a form of actual objects that he thinks about creating or simply his mind thinking about bad things that could happen in certain situations.
The two large accidents that occur in the book are pieced together from many different angles. Again, this story isn’t quite linear and so figuring out who belongs where in which scenario is part of reading the story. The story about the bombings from a long time ago was really interesting to me but only because I was not as familiar with that story. But even then, reading the stories were sparatic and pieced together in a confusing manner. The twin tower incident came from primarily phone messages that were left by his dad while the story of the bombings were from his grandfather’s memories. The memories line was a bit better because it was a story being told, but the author may have done the 9/11 incident from the way of the messages because the reader would be assumed to have knowledge of this event.
The last thought I had was about his journey to find the owner of the key. On the way, he met many friends and had many great talks with really great people, but when he found the owner of the key, he didn’t look in the safe deposit box it went to and just, kind of, gave up. I felt like the whole story was about trying to find something that his dad left behind and it really just became a journey to no-where. He met a great friend in Mr. Black from upstairs but then his friend moved? He finally met his grandfather, but still only knew him as the “renter” by the end of the book. I just felt as though the journeys could have ended up somewhere better.
Overall this book wasn’t bad, but I was about 70% of the way through and realized I just wanted the book to be finished and that I was not necessarily interested in how it finished. The method of writing was hard to follow and was written very different from most other books.
Sadly, I had high hopes for this book because the movie looks fantastic. I can only hope now that Hollywood has taken some creative liberties to give this story what it deserves. The story is there, it’s just not well portrayed in the book format.