Read Alert: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: More books to movies! And I’m excited about this one, as one should be with such big names as Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock.

But. I also will never forget the first time I read this book, right as Jonathan Safran Foer’s genius swept the nation. I was perfectly caught up in the entire experience–the obscure writing style, snippets of journals or pictures pasted seemingly haphazardly throughout my copy, the intriguing young narrator, the nearness of 9/11 and what the story meant.

And then the book ended. I DO NOT LIE: I threw the book across the room.

The thing is, I’ve heard plenty of mixed reviews about Foer’s second novel. Many a reader has found the child narrator to be unbelievable in the role he’s given; they complain of being emotionally detached from a far-fetched story; they find it pretentious or overplayed. I didn’t sense any of that. I am an emotional reader, and oh! Was I ever caught-up with these characters. At points, the story deeply moved me, even to tears.

I don’t think that the question is about believability. So what if it’s believable? Why does everything have to be so dang realistic? It’s a novel. It’s an idea. For heaven’s sake, it’s a story. 

But here is my point: do not create something so emotionally stirring, so deeply thoughtful, so worthy of attachment, and then drop me off the edge of a cliff at the end. I was absolutely wounded. If I give you room to lead me through a less-than-real story for several days, I will not be pleased if after all that time you so rudely crash me back to reality with a perfectly sensible, real-life ending. That just won’t do.

I’m interested to see the film interpretation. Obviously I do hope that they protect the integrity of the book. But I hope they also find a way to preserve the beautiful sense of hopefulness and wonder that sturdied itself as such gripping groundwork for the novel. At least when I plop myself into the movie theater, I’ll know what I’m getting into this time and can focus my energy on looking for that.

Sarah Ann Noel is a freelance writer, blogger, and public relations professional. She blogs “Read Alert” every week and covers other Denver-related events and thoughts on writing and motherhood on her personal blogCheck back every week for reviews, literary events, and other bookish finds.

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