Cover Art: 5/5 On first look, you might say, “Hmm? That’s strange. Why is the title written on this outline of a hand? I am confused as to why this is!” Or maybe that was just me. But as I started reading and getting deeper and deeper into the book, I realized that the cover art is kind of genius. There is a character in the book that doesn’t speak (I won’t tell you who, because where’s the fun in that?) and he writes everything he wants to say in “day books.” He also has things written on his hands, and writes a few things on other character’s hands. See? Genius! Well that is just my interpretation. It could be totally different.
Age Limit: 13 and up. But parents, do be advised! There are some sexual scenes in this book. I would say younger children could read this book if it wasn’t for these few moments.
Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
Set in New York, the book opens up through the view of Oskar Schell, an eight year old who is incredibly smart and speaks a little French. He invents things in his mind to take away some of the hurt that he feels and his “heavy boots.” A term that, when you first hear it, kind of confuses you, but you start to understand what exactly those “heavy boots” mean. Oskar’s father, Thomas, is a genius and always gives Oskar little clues to go on adventures. The only problem is (and I’m not spoiling anything, you can find this on the back of the book) Thomas dies on September 11, 2001 in the World Trade Center.
One day Oskar finds a mysterious envelope with the name “BLACK” written on it. Inside there is a key that has no explanation and no instruction. Oskar then plans to visit every single person in New York with the last name of Black in order to get closer to his father and understand the last adventure that his father planned for Oskar. He met tons of people and influenced many of their lives without even realizing it.
The whole novel shifts from Oskar’s point of view to his grandmother’s view to his grandfather’s view. Time in the novel isn’t linear. It jumps from present to past from section to section, and you find out what some of it means later in the novel (so if you’re confused about something, don’t despair, just keep reading!).
The first time I heard about this book is when it came out in theaters. After I first saw the preview, I began to see people around me reading it and discussing it. I was intrigued. At work one day (Barnes and Noble) I was on my lunch break and decided to pick it up and see what it was about. I read 20 pages…and was hooked. I left the break room and bought it.
The entire time reading it, I wanted to give Oskar a big hug. It is such an emotional book (not the “cry for 30 minutes after reading it” type of emotional, but it is a gradual build-up that you don’t even realize is there until you see those final pictures. Oh yeah! The book is filled with pictures of the things that Oskar talks about. There are also sections where there are red pen marks filling the page with corrections. It is an interactive book and you feel like you are growing and learning with Oskar.
Like I said earlier, there is a movie, but I haven’t seen it…yet! I’m going to see it within the next couple of days, hopefully! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have. It really is a fantastic book.
I even plan on reading Safran Foer’s other novel, Everything is Illuminated, which was also made into a movie. Stay tuned for that one in the future! For now, I will include that trailer as well!
Happy reading everyone!
“The Printed Word: Readable – Usable – Recyclable – Sustainable – Biodegradable”