9/11 didn’t affect me when it happened. Not at all. I was little then, and I remember my mom sitting on her bed, staring at the TV watching the Towers collapse. I asked what I was going on, and she told me some people had crashed planes into very tall buildings in New York. I asked if my cousins, who live in New Jersey, were okay, and if we had called them yet. She said they were fine. I didn’t really think much about it anymore. I knew it was bad, and that was it.
Today, I realize how truly horrible it was. And this book just decided to give me heartache all over again. I felt terrible about never having thought about who was left behind, and who they had to let go. It made me think about how stupid this whole debate about the Ground Zero mosque is. It made me feel really bad for Oskar.
Oskar Schell is a nine-year-old boy whose dad died on 9/11, the worst day. One day he finds a key that belonged to his dad, and that sends him on a quest to try and open one of New York’s 162 million locks. Oskar’s life touches other lives, as he inches closer to unearthing a family secret dating back to World War II and to trying to miss his dad a little bit less.
This boy has nothing on T.S. Spivet, and if I’d read this book before I’d read The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, I would’ve hated it with a fiery passion. Oskar is so much more real, he cries when he’s scared, but he’s also braver than most. He is a special kid, really.
Being the second book of Foer’s I’ve read, I can definitely say that he’s become one of my favourite authors. He’s marvellous, his words are unpretentious and simple but so powerful, and this book in particular is so sad and so heart-wrenching and so masterful. I’ve read reviews where people consider Foer’s use of pictures and word-play that take a lot of page room gimmicks, but I disagree. I read the final chapter on the bus home, and when I saw the final picture sequence and read the final words I started crying and then had to quickly cover my eyes and wipe my face with a tissue so no-one would think I was completely weird.
I don’t think I’d ever cried in a public place since I was a child. Oskar gave me really heavy boots, but he also made me feel one hundred dollars.