Hi, Hey, Hello!
I have another book review for you beautiful people today. One a little more typical than the last one I gave. And it is about a book that I have seen a lot about but always struggled to get my hands on. Until this year where I basically remember that The Book Depository exists (and comes with deliveries that include bookmarks! I went from having barely any bookmarks to having loooaaadddssss, let’s not talk about how many because that would give way to the book buying problem I found myself with at the end of this year/beginning of last).
***CANNOT GUARANTEE SPOILER FREE***
That book is this:
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz
First of all I love the way this story was told. I loved that it was reflective from some indefinite time in the future. I loved how the language was so uncomplicated and just told the fucking story. It was simple. And so effective.
It was so easy to see from the get go to get Aristotle. I mean I wasn’t a teenage Mexican boy, but I was a teenage mixed race girl and I totally got that element of trying to figure out the hell that meant. I mean not to the same extent by any means, but I got it. I understood it. I was rooting for him, in whatever it was that went on in the story, from the first few pages. He was one of my favourite protagonists for a while. He was confused, and slightly annoying, and angry, and seemingly indifferent yet caring. He was super flawed, he was kind of exactly what a teenager is. Saenz created a real representation of being a teenager in an actual (80s) world (I realised while writing that sentence that most of the teenage characters I encountered in books are in supernatural/dystopian worlds and almost always girls, it’s been a while since I read something from a teenage boy’s perspective, if I ever have before…I honestly cannot remember).
Ari’s relationship with Dante was set up and explored so beautifully throughout that you almost can’t help but love and root for it. It burned quietly in the background of the whole story and this is where the fact that it was told reflectively was super effective (or maybe the analyser in me just went into overdrive). It made the story seem wider even though really it was just about this kid’s life over the course of a year and him plodding along trying to sort his shit out. It meant that a) you kinda knew he made it out of being 15 seemingly in one piece and b) gave you an element of hope that there was some kind of happy-ish ending (and yeahhhh, this is the ‘I need to write an essay on this book’ part of me isn’t it? Is it?).
Because I am greedy as hell I really want to know this side of the story from Dante’s perspective. There were flashes of it when Ari received his letters but I want more. He is somehow the complete opposite of Ari while also being similar. He seems so self assured in his letters in total contrast to Ari and that contradiction between these characters was so much fun to see play out throughout the novel and I kind of wanted more. And I also wanted to know Dante’s thoughts and feelings about the whole attack thing both to know how he was feeling about it and also because there is a part of me that wonders if he would have had the same reaction if the tables had been turned.
Overall I loved the vibe of this whole and the beautiful simplicity with which this story was told. I get why so many people have fallen in love with witnessing Aristotle and Dante falling in love. I did too. And I could so keep picking apart this book, but I will save you my wonderful readers from the inner workings of my mind and just say if you get the chance you should definitely pick this book up and give it a try.
Parentheses count: 5. See you tomorrow!
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