Wednesday, 10 June 2015

book club babble #1: aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe

Hello all, and welcome to the first instalment of book club babble! If you didn't see my last post, I briefly introduced you to the tiny book club I'm a part of, and now I'm back to discuss the book, as you do. What I forgot to mention in the last post was the journal the three of us are using as a sort of guide to our reading and discussion - Well-Read Women: A Reader's Journal. It really is a gorgeous little book and I highly recommend it for anyone who likes to keep track of their thoughts and favourite quotes while reading. 

Our first read was the highly acclaimed Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. If you haven't heard of this book, here's the synopsis from Goodreads: 

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Now, this book has a rating of 4.30 out of 5 on Goodreads. You don't see that very often. Usually, when I see a book with such a high rating I tend to be a little bit skeptical. But I really enjoyed reading this one. Here are the notes I took in my journal. Be warned, they're very brief!

Plot notes: Coming of age story about two Mexican-American boys discovering themselves - their hearts, their lives, their sexualities. Heartbreaking and uplifting. Lots of teen angst and nostalgia.

Character notes: Ari and Dante are polar opposites personality-wise, drawn to each other. Hidden lesson in the book: Be a combination of the two personalities. Leaning too far in either direction (too optimistic/too pessimistic) is dangerous. Philosophical in its own right. 

Favourite quotes:  "Words were different when they lived inside of you." 
"The problem with my life was that it was someone else's idea." 

Other books to read by this author: Last Night I Sang to the Monster 

My final thoughts: Ari and Dante are characters that I would have liked to know when I was a teenager. The nostalgia hit me hard while I was reading this, and I really connected to a lot of the angst and anger  Ari was feeling, since I went through a lot of emotions when I was in high school as well. The only reason I can't give it a five-star rating is simply because it didn't really get my emotions as crazy as I was expecting - from all the reviews I read, I was expecting to be a waterfall of tears by the end of it. Maybe I just have a heart of stone. Anyway, I really loved this book and can definitely see myself rereading it in the future! 

Our next book club read is Yours Truly by Annabel Pitcher. Stay tuned!

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