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I hate to break it to you, but I judge books by their covers. I picked this book to do my project on based on the cover alone because I thought the look of it was incredible. Obviously, the color is one of the first things to catch a reader’s eye. Because the color is a soft beige/white, the metallic red shines out dramatically. If red is romance and anger and blood — and this story has death, pain, arguments, disagreements, love, and friendship — then I’d say the color choice was perfect for the cover. With the words written the way they are with varying font sizes and directions, the reader’s mind is engaged and captivated. The font is fun and exciting with the letters having different heights. Because the font is so fun, the reader is more engaged with the cover and therefore curious about its content. It’s also quite plausible that the hand on the cover is representative of the hands of the renter. If so, the hand on the cover of the novel is saying “No,” and I’m not sure if that’s a desperate cry of despair at the death of  a father, son, and husband or something else entirely. Having read the novel the reader can look back at the cover with a new perspective and be rewarded with a whole new outlook.

There are obviously tons of images in the novel that all represent different parts of Oskar’s life. For example, the image of the birds taking flight was taken moments after Mr. Black’s hearing aid was turned back on for the first time in years. The first noise he hears is a fluttering of bird wings. The birds could also be symbolic of something greater. I think the birds are a symbol of Oskar releasing some of his desperate clinging to the father he used to have. Oskar has made a new friend and is breathing a sigh of relief about the gradual healing going on inside his mind and heart. The flying of the birds is the moment when he releases a bit of that tension and begins to take the first few steps needed to move on. I also find it interesting that most of the images in Oskar’s Things That Happened to Me book are in black and white. It is not because printing in color is too difficult or wasteful or whatever reason it is that most books are printed in black and white, and we know this because there is page after page after page of colored ink from when Oskar visits the art supply store. I think the images are in black and white because black stands out so vibrantly from the white of the page. There’s also a possibility that there is a reasons for the grey hues in the images because, like the rest of the novel, everything is composed of shades of grey. Though I’m far from being an artist or knowing anything about it other than that art is “pretty,” these are my beliefs.

Finally, selling the novel as a bestseller later turned into a movie comes from two main parts. The first is from brilliant writing. Safran Foer writes beautifully and with elegance. It’s on the last few pages where Oskar is looking back at the events of 9/11 and imagining what could have happened if only the day played out in reverse.

I ripped the pages out of the book. I reversed the order, so the last one was first, and the first was last. When I flipped through them, it looked like the man was floating up through the sky. And if I’d had more pictures, he would’ve flow through a window, back into the building, and the smoke would’ve poured into the hole that the plane was about to come out of. (Safran Foer, 325)

The second part to selling the novel would be the audience. A decade after 9/11 the audience is more willing to make light of the situation, as long as the novel accurately and completely portrays the pain and suffering of those impacted by 9/11 directly. Between brilliant writing and a willing audience Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close created a fan base big enough to market a movie. And whenever I get free time… which should be in about a month from now, I’ll be sitting down to watch the movie.

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