Book Review: Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

By Cassandra Lis

Written by Jonathan Safran Foer, this fiction novel follows the strange dynamic of a Jewish family living in New York. The mother and father (Jacob and Julia) have three kids. The oldest is accused of writing curse words on a desk, so his bar mitzvah is put on hold. He does not want to have his bar mitzvah, but his parents are forcing him to have it anyways. Julia believes that he is guilty and should apologize. Jacob believes that as parents, they should listen the their son, who says he is innocent. Here begins the end of a declining marriage, as the two begin to talk about divorcing. That is a brief intro to the plot. It delves a lot deeper, discussing Jewish identity, what it means to be an Israeli, marriage, and several other topics. Later in the novel, an earthquake in Israel shocks the whole world, and begins a war. Foer then focuses on the politics involved in war and the calling of one to their “homeland”. The sense of nationalism that suddenly arises in the worldly Jewish population is astounding, as they rush home to fight for Israel.

The book was very different from his other works, which are a mixture of historical and realistic fiction. This particular work is based off of an imagined earthquake, while the others follow stories of 9/11 and World War II. Although I am partial to my rating of this book because he is my favorite author, I give it 5/5 stars. As always, he writes beautifully.