I decided to review another couple of books together. Probably once I have caught up with my "read list" I will stop doing this since I don't read that quickly. I paired Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly because both novels have young male protagonists dealing with the death of a parent.
In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Oskar's father was one of the casualties of 9/11. Luckily the book doesn't focus much on that or try and blow his father up to be some sort of hero or martyr. This book centers on Oskar's feelings and his secret quest to solve what he sees as his father's final riddle. This book definintely gave me "heavy boots" (how Oskar describes his sadness) and I did enjoy the occasional pictures that were included. They really added to the story. I'm tempted to read Safran Foer's other book, Everything Is Illuminated, even though I've already seen the movie.
The Book of Lost Things has more of a children's/young adult book feeling. Despite this it wasn't too juvenile for adults to enjoy. This story revolves around David, who happens upon a dangerous and twisted world in his garden. David is also dealing with the loss of his mother and the changes happening in his family when his father remarries and has a baby with his new wife. This book reminded me a bit of Pan's Labyrinth or The Bloody Chamber (a fantastic collection of twisted fairytales by Angela Carter). Out of the two books I happened to enjoy Safran Foer's book more but I think that might be since I have read so many fantastic twisted fairytale books in the past (by Angela Carter, Neil Gaiman, etc) so there was tough competition. I could see The Book of Lost Things being a good choice for a high school or junior high English class discussion. There is some gruesume and adult subjuct matter but it's done tastefully enough and most teenagers these days have been playing Grand Theft Auto and watching slasher films since they were 4 years old anyway.