Anyhow, while I was at the library looking at the book sale, I spotted the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I had watched the movie last year and absolutely loved it. You can read about that here.
I have a rule about movies based on books: I always read the book first before seeing the movie (never the movie before the book). However, I loved this movie SO much that I decided it would be worth reading the book.
Let me tell you: it is so worth reading this book! This might be the best thing I've ever bought for $2.
Part of the synopsis of the book on Wikipedia reads as follows:
The main protagonist of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a nine-year-old boy named Oskar Schell. Oskar Schell's father Thomas Schell dies in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, before the narrative begins. While looking through his father's closet, Oskar finds a key in a small envelope inside a vase, on the outside of the envelope the word "Black" is written in the top left corner. Curious, Oskar sets off on a mission to contact every person in New York City with the last name Black, in alphabetical order, in order to find the lock to the key his father left behind. The novel also tells a separate narrative that eventually converges with the main story through a series of letters written by Oskar's grandfather to Oskar's father and by Oskar's grandmother to Oskar himself, based on real life events.There were a lot of differences between the book and the movie, and I have to say I prefer the book's version of this tale. I had to adjust to the unique writing style in this book, and at times I had trouble following exactly who was talking. I didn't mind using a little extra brain power to follow this incredible story.
In the movie Oskar says he was tested for Asperger's, but there is no such mention in the book. I still connected with Oskar in a way that I probably wouldn't have if I did not have a son with Asperger's. I think the author's portrayal of Oskar gives any reader more appreciation for people who are quirky or different in any way.
Not only did this book make me cry on many occasions, but it also made me smile and laugh out loud over and over. There were admittedly a few parts that I had trouble believing (mostly involving Oskar's grandparents), but I didn't let them detract from my overall enjoyment of the book.
This book now holds the distinction of being my current favorite fiction book.
If you loved the movie, read this book. If you haven't seen the movie, read this book. If you didn't like the movie, well, I suppose I leave it up to you to read the book or not.