Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.
Most of the time, I hate books that have children as the main characters because they seem so utterly precocious and are so infuriating with their thoughts. However, even though Oskar is overly precocious and his thoughts don’t seem like the proper ones for a grieving nine year old, I still loved the character. He sees the world a different way than most people do. I don’t know if it’s a combination of his innocence mixed with his grief, but whatever it is, even though his point of view is strange and unexpected, it’s maybe a little bit enlightening too. His voice is just so memorable.
The book evoked a lot of emotion in me. Sometimes it was overwhelmingly emotional. I had a lump in my throat for most of the book, but I didn’t mind that because it wasn’t trying to make you cry. It described the trials of Oskar’s family so honestly. I sympathized with all of them. I know people didn’t always love the chapters about the grandparents but I thought they brought an extra dimension to Oskar’s story. All of them were just so real.
This book is highly recommended. I will definitely be reading more from Jonathan Safran Foer.