Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why I love Oskar

One of the books we read this semester was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. Although I'm not usually a fan of sobfests (which is why I write romance--I prefer a happily ever after in fiction since they're so darn rare in real life) however this book is somehow one I can't resist going back to.

When we were assigned a twitter project, to tweet from a fictional voice, it seemed a no brainer--I'd be Oskar.


 I live with three kids with special needs, so I felt like I could really get Oskar, not to mention that as a mother...I kind of want to hug him any time I read portions in his voice. Not to mention when we read the pieces from his grandmother's point of view. I know what it is like to look at someone so very special, so beautiful and wonderful and be just overwhelmed with a blend of love, proudness and agonizing pain since we can't ever protect them from the world. By bringing them into being, by helping them grow, we're basically setting them loose in the asteroid field of life and just waiting to comfort them when they take a sideswipe.
And yet Oskar is both more and less than that. In his search for answers, in his blockheaded refusal to give up, he discovers things that most of us might spend our whole lives never knowing. Between the science that drives him and the horror of his loss, we can learn more about who we are.

Sometimes, science doesn't have answers. Sometimes the answers it has are more painful than not knowing. Either way, Oskar keeps his humor, keeps his ability to try, refuses to give in. Even when he is hurting himself to punish himself for things he had no control over...Oskar is kind of every one of us. Even if we're not physically bruising ourselves, don't we punish ourselves for things we think we've done wrong? Whether we're feeling guilty, wishing we'd done things differently...whatever, how often do we do just what he is doing, but in less visible but deeper damaging ways?

In the end of the book, we're not given a happy ever after for any of the characters, which I feel is both intentional and more meaningful. In real life, we're not promised forever. We're not even promised right now. Like Oskar, we have no clue what tomorrow will bring...
And yet we go on, living our lives and hoping for the best. Life isn't about the happy ever after, not really. It's about stringing together as many pearls of happiness that we can before we run out of string. Maybe there aren't any answers. Maybe there aren't supposed to be.

But somewhere, the things we're missing here? Are really common. As common there as they are rare here. Maybe in that place, there are happily ever afters but no one knows how special they are because they're so used to them... and only the rare person gets to experience loss or pain to understand how perfectly beautiful the good moments are in comparison.

Who knows, really?


  1. I think your writing is great. I was a little confused on the pictures. Oskar is star of the story, but to many pictures take away from your thoughts of Oskar. More dialogue is needed. But overall it is good stuff girl. You keep writing

  2. I really love Oskar too. He is just a great character in general, but I think, for me personally, it was Grandma who really left my heart bleeding. In many ways, every character in this novel is one that has such a powerful back story one can't help but to love the character and feel bad for them at the same time. While I was reading, there were times that I really wanted to hate Thomas (the grandfather) for being so selfish and walking out on his family. However, the way that Foer wrote his novel, with different characters telling their own stories, made it almost impossible for readers to not feel bad for them.
    Anyway, your right about so many things in this blog. This novel is truly a gem, and I agree it will be one that continually draws me back to it also.
    Additionally, I wanted to say that I love the picture you put up of the newspaper article with "not stop looking" circled. I don't know if you blurred the other letters or not but I'm pretty sure they weren't blurred in the novel. It looks pretty awesome though.

  3. I loved seeing your twitter account. It was really awesome to see your interpretation of such a complex character. This novel has so many layers to it and it was a great experience seeing which layers of the novel you chose to focus on. I love all of your pictures. Each picture tells a story of its own, and I love that!