I think it might be good if we each gave the book a rating, out of 5 stars, to give a simple understanding of how much we liked (or disliked) a book.
Here are some discussion questions I found online about the book ... I don't particularly want to discuss all of them (I've given brief comments in italics), but here they are:
1. Talk about Oskar—an unusually precious child. Do you find him sympathetic or annoying? Or both?
Sympathetic, but very unrealistic. I would have thought he was at least 12-13 years old based on how mature his thought processes were.
2. For Shakespeare buffs: Oskar "plays Yorick" (the long dead jester whose skull Hamlet holds in his hand!) in a school production. What is the significance of that role? (See Hamlet: Act V, Scene I, Line 188).
I'm sorry, I have no idea what this question is about.
3. Jonathan Safran Foer has said that he writes about characters and their miscommunications: some characters think they're saying a lot but say nothing; others say nothing but end up saying a lot. Which characters fall into which category in Extremely Loud? What might Foer be saying about our ability to communicate deep-seated emotions?
This question is too deep for me, but I'd be interested if any of you have thoughts on this as a subject.
4. Some critics have wondered where Oskar's mother is and how the child is left alone to wander the streets of New York alone at night. Is that a relevant comment? Do you see this book as a work of realism (in which case the mother's role would matter) ... or as more of a fable, on the order, say, of Life of Pi? If the latter, what is Extremely Loud a fable of? (Like Pi, Oskar seems to be a quester—but of what?)
I find it an insult to compare this book to 'Life of Pi,' which I think is one of the best books ever. Yes, it's totally unrealistic what this 9 year old has set out to do, all on his own. It's some consolation in the end (spoiler alert!) when you realize that the mother had warned all those people that he would be arriving, but even so.
5. Do you find the illustratrions, sribblings, over-written texts, etc. a meaningful, integral part of the work? Or do you find them distracting and gimmicky? Why are they there?
I was wondering if the Kindle readers saw the illustrations and random crossed out text, etc. I honestly didn't understand the significance of it -- can someone explain it to me?
6. How do both main plot and subplot (Oskar's grandfather and the bombing of Dresden) interweave with one another?
I have no idea. I feel like I'm in a college lit class, I don't like the feeling.
Overall, I would give this book a 2.5 stars out of 5. I really didn't like it. While Oscar's story was interesting in the opening, I started getting irritated by the side plot of the grandfather who didn't talk (what was the point of that??), and after Oscar visiting about 4 homes, I couldn't care less, and didn't see the point of it. The opening was good, the ending wasn't bad, the middle was boring. I wouldn't recommend this book to others, or even the author for that matter.
Would love to hear what you all thought.
-- Antara B.