A review by kristendom
Here I Am, by Jonathan Safran Foer

4.0

I was all set to give this one three stars after slogging through most of it - it was difficult to read at times, boring to read at others, with a few better written parts thrown in there occasionally - and then I reached the last two chapters. They made the whole rest of the book worth it - I couldn't put it down when I was reading them. Despite the fact that I didn't love most of the characters - except the kids, how could you not adore these kids? - the final two chapters made me fall in love with them. It's a lot of book to get through for that end part, but the story that happens there - well, I wish the rest of the book had been written in such a way. Instead it's an in-depth look at 3 weeks in the life of a Jewish family who is not that religious, but who thinks they should be, maybe? Jacob's and Julia's marriage is on the rocks, Jacob's great-grandfather is considering suicide or moving into a nursing home - he's not sure which is the best choice, Jacob's father is an outspoken blogger who is currently derided by most people, and Jacob's and Julia's eldest son Sam is on the cusp of his bar mitzvah - despite his objections to having one. Throw in some cousins from Israel who arrive shortly before a major earthquake in their homeland, as well as a recently divorced father who shows Julia what else life has to offer, and an elderly dog who can't control his bowels, and you have the makings of a complex and real family. I dare you not to cry when you read the last chapter.