I'm having a hard time sorting out my feelings for this book. The rating is actually a weighted average because parts of it deserve five stars, but the flaws run so deeply, I almost gave it one star instead. Foer is clearly an excellent writer capable of writing deeply affecting prose. I don't mind that he tells some of the story in pictures either; as a visual person, I think it can sometimes be the best way to tell a story. But on the whole, the book is so clever and gimmicky, it makes the pathos of it feel cheap. Writing it from a grief-stricken nine year-old's point of view is too cloying and manipulative to boot.
For those who liked this book, I would recommend reading W. G. Sebald's _Austerlitz_. I think he's the best author I know for examining tragedy and for trying to salvage something it. Foer feels more like he's mining
it for material.