Of all of the audio fiction I have listened to, this has been the best so far. Jonathan Safran Foer , the author of the book, is the first genius in creating the delightful character of Oscar Schell, an eccentric, gifted, and sarcastic child who is mature beyond his years, but held back by the boundries of childhood. The actor who reads his character creates a perfect Oscar.
Listening, you are torn by wanting the lighter observations of Oscar, as the plot gets darker and darker, revealing multi-generational tragedy.
Though it is terribly sad in many parts, this book is equally delightful in the eccentricities of Oscar and the Schell family.
You will miss this one when it's over.
I thought that this was a really good story and I really enjoyed the performances of all of the readers. I really loved the boy and thought he was a great character. I didn't really like the extra, side stories about the grandparents' lives before he was born, I didn't really see what that contributed to the rest of the book. I heard an interview with the author on NPR that I really enjoyed and in the interview they said that the book has all kinds of pictures and stuff so maybe reading it would be a more rewarding experience, I don't know.
I've been an Audible.com subcsriber since 2001, and this is the first time I considered listening to a book over again as soon as I finished it. It was that good. The readers are some of the best I've heard. The story really wow-ed me, from start to end.
I listen to books while I walk, and I probably made a spectacle of myself several times when something in the book made my eyes well up with tears.
Just as in his first, Everything's Illuminated, this book is suffused with a refreshingly original voice, touching regard for the characters, and above all an appreciation for the shadows cast by humanity's light. A wonderful listen for sure.
Tried listening to this on a road trip but the bizarre start turned my children off and forced me to listen to three hours of rap music. When I came back to it, I was drawn in by the boy's quirky flaws and the basic premise. I was not prepared for the heart-wrenching chapter when the depth of the boys loss is revealed. Be forewarned, this book is not for those with recent family losses. I don't often cry over book characters, or movies either, but I caught myself more than once dwelling upon the "planes flying into buildings" mantra and having to turn the book off. Overall, I wish my children would read novels like this, if nothing else, to make them appreciate the wonderful, nearly uneventful lives they lead.
This is a wonderful rendering of a thoughtful and captivating set of stories. The characters are very well developed, and the narrators are consistently good interpreters. I was touched by the human frailties captured in sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic moments. I highly recommend this audiobook.
OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!
Not by this author if he thinks that this is literature. There's nothing wrong with the narrators except the voice of the main character has "too much bass in his voice" to be a credible 9 year-old. He sounded closer to 16.
Again, the narration was the only part of this work that was good.
I couldn't believe that Jonathan Safran got a book deal with this mess.
This book is at once depressing, ridiculous, unbelievable, and immature. I thought I was buying a book about a child's reaction in the aftermath of his father's death in the World Trade Centers. But somewhere, somehow, the story switched to the kid's quirky ways, his crazy grandparents and his odd mother. The child is described in the synopsis as "precocious" when he's actually an over-protected spoiled brat who needs a good butt-whipping. The grandparents are crazy as hell, never speaking to each other, just communicating with pre-written notes and hand gestures. They weren't deaf, just crazy! The mother is over-indulgent, allowing her little brat to say and do whatever he wants. The father, whom I initially had sympathy for because of his fate, was just as strange as everyone else in this book. When the story suddenly and inexplicably veered off off to Japanese person in bombed out Hiroshima, I had to let this book go. I barely understood the American aspect - to add in another set of people in the wake of a major man-made disaster was just too much. I fail to see what other readers saw in this book. The 9 year-old kid got on my nerves asking "Why?" questions like a he was 2 and constantly being disrespectful to adults. If this kid knows the definition of "google", then he should have already known the answers to the incessant questions he worried both family and strangers with. His behavior wasn't "cute". He didn't qualify for "time out". If he'd been MY son, he would have gotten "knocked out"! His family can't even be labeled as dysfunctional since all families are in some ways. These people were STRANGE! As a result, I felt no sympathy or empathy for any of them. They just took up much-needed space on earth. ALL of them, including the kid, should have been in the World Trade Centers on that fateful September 11, 2001.
A different book all together
The use off 911, which really had nothing to do with the book in large.
One narrator only
So glad I did not use a credit for this one! Every school has got one of these kids, think back & you might remember the name of the one in your school, I did. Not a good read, or listen! My review has nothing to do with 911, but the book itself.
I really prefer to read books made into movies before seeing the movie but that didn't happen. And what also didn't happen is liking the book better. This book just really didn't excite me. It was enjoyable. But all of the story lines were distracting and diluted the good points of the others.
The story of the grandparents was enjoyable. However, I never saw a connection to the story of the boy grappling with his father's death. The story of the search for the lock was wonderful but how did it relate to the grandparents? Maybe I am dense or stupid but I didn't get it. Ad trying to figure it out took away the enjoyment of listening to the book. And the story of the mother was non-existant. For once I have to say the movie re-write was much better.
The narration was superb. Character differentiation was excellent. Accents were appropriate. I usually prefer one narrator to a "cast" and I think this story did not require three, but it did work. Transitions were seamless.
If you liked the movie, I would think twice about this book.