Jill's take on Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer
I have to confess; when I like an author I tend to read everything he or she writes. And I like Jonathan Safran Foer. So I was really excited when I heard he had a new book coming out (I think I heard an interview with him on one of the many podcasts I listen to) and was even more excited when I saw the book in paperback at a shop in London. Normally when shopping for books, we gather what "looks" good to us, sit down and read selections from each book. Then we get back together and discuss which ones we are interested in. I did not do that with Here I Am. I just decided I had to buy it and assumed it would be good.
And it was good. It was not great. But I enjoyed it. I could hear the characters' voices loud and clear and see the conflicts going on in each one of them. I can't say I particularly liked any of the characters, but that's really the point. I could understand the struggles the marriage was having and the subtle ways the couple was sinking without really realizing it.
There's a lot going on in Here I Am - relationship struggles between husband and wife, between father and son, religious identity, Israeli identity, etc. It's kind of enough to make one's head spin. But Safran Foer manages to weave all of the threads together into a cohesive story. You can feel the angst, conflict, anger, irritation and degradation that takes place throughout the story. It sort of feels like a coming of age tale across many ages and many areas - coming of age for Israel, coming of age for a marriage, coming of age for children and the ultimate coming of age of one's parents.
I enjoyed the book and thought it was a satisfying read. I do have to say the font in the paperback I bought was so small that it was a bit of a trial to actually be able to read it. Good thing I only read when I've removed my contact lenses; otherwise I would have had to buy "cheaters" to go along with the book. It's definitely a worthwhile read - with or without "cheaters".
We left Here I Am at our house sit in Vermiglio, Italy. Hopefully, the next person who picks flowers here can read English and decides to give this a go.
Note: This is a solo review as Zac did not read this book before we left it behind. He did think he was going to listen to the ebook but has not done so yet. He'll surely update this post if he does.