The following is excerpted from the rave review in the New York Times Book Review:
''Unless,'' Oskar wonders, ''nothing was a clue.'' This paradoxical would-be koan is a clue for the reader: profundities ahead, possibly a lot of them, and all of them dropping with the same ''plop.'' And so it begins, and doesn't ever stop - a rain of truisms, aphorisms, nuggets of wisdom and deep thoughts tossed off by Oskar and the other characters as if they were trying to corner a market in ironic existentialist greeting cards. ''It's better to lose than never to have had.'' ''You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.'' ''Everything that's born has to die, which means our lives are like skyscrapers. The smoke rises at different speeds, but they're all on fire, and we're all trapped.''
If the above quotes are any indication, perhaps the book should have been titled "Extremely Trite and Incredibly Boring". Is Foer writing for sophisticated adults or the "Harry Potter" crowd? Genre bending is one thing, but this is an indigestible stew - a hodgepodge of narrative, fantasy, adventure, pop culture, doodles, photos - and lame aphorisms that read like self-help affirmations. Critics will love it because it confirms their hipness. Readers who habitually channel surf and multitask won't care that the book is more style than substance. As the book's protagonist, Oskar, might say: "Style is the new substance". A lamentable trend, IMO. But decide for yourself. Another book I need to mention -- very much on my mind since I purchased a copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, not reviewed anywhere -- but an odd, highly entertaining little novel I can't stop thinking about.