Review to "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
FACTS ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: LGBT+ , Coming of Age
The story follows the development of a deep friendship between two Mexican-American boys in their teenage years. It plays in 1987.
Can we talk about that magnificently stunning cover for a second? Staring at the cover made me dream about the universe and I'm just utterly in love with it. I love the font and the colours.. it's such an eyecatcher.
Before I read the book I only knew that it was a LGBT+ book, nothing else.
I think it is definitely important to know that the plot isn't set in modern day but in 1987. I did not know that before and had therefore a bit different expectation.
I wanted to love the book so bad because everyone on Bookstagram adored it and also because I'm very much into the LGBT+ topic and was very excited to read that book therefore.
In hindsight I would have enjoyed the book better right from the start if I weren't all that hyped about it. If I just went into the story without any expectations I would have liked the first half much better.
One should just give this book to others without saying anything. Not even that it is a LGBT+ book because that also creates certain expectations and one just waits for the gayness to happen basically.
And those expectations demand very much of the book. Instead of just diving into the story, letting it evolve and go where it goes, all the hype around it, made it a bit difficult for me to just read and enjoy it.
I found it hard to really dive into the story in the first half of the book. The characters were extremely interesting but I felt like I wasn't given enough. The dialogues left me wanting more, because huge parts of them consisted of the boys repeating each other.
The story is written from Ari's point of view and as a reader I got to know him very deeply while still not completely. He hid some things both from the reader and from himself, which made it difficult for me to fully understand him. But as he said himself, he doesn't understand himself either.
Ari is described as the "angry" one on the back of the book. That weirded me out in the beginning because Ari didn't feel like that at all to me. But then something happened and afterwards it felt like I've skipped some pages, because Ari seemed a completely new person to me.
Therefore I was always trying to discover Ari more and better.. which isn't actually bad because that's the same thing that Ari was trying to do during the whole book. Figuering himself out.
The second half of the book did not allow me to put the book down again.
The characters seemed to rip themselves open in front of me and I was deeply moved by the depth and rawness of their feelings.I got quite emotional during the last 100 pages and shed some tears.
I was finally soaked into the story and I felt all the emotions. I felt so much love and affection for all the characters. Mostly of course for Dante and Ari.
But the families of both these extraordinary boys went above and beyond with their unconditional love for their sons. It's been a while since I've last read about such loving and deeply caring parents like these.
And not only were they portrayed as this massive support for both the boys but also each as an individual person. I loved how the book showed that being a parent isn't the only thing that they are. In most books, parents play exclusively the role of a parent.
But these characters showed so many own depths and I loved that so much about them.
I really wished parents were portrayed like complex characters more often in stories.
I could feel the unconditional love that the parents had for their sons right through the pages.
All the characters felt so real and I miss them deeply now that I've finished the book. I really hope that there will be a sequel. Characters as complex as the ones in this book are sadly very rare.
In general I wish there were more books like this one. Filled with deep and weird and so relatable thoughts. Ari thought so much and I could relate to all his thoughts that seemed to make no sense but did in his mind on such a spiritual level.
The characters made themselves so vulnerable and I loved them so dearly.
And still I wish Ari would not have closed himself that much from the reader. It is strange, because on the one hand he showed so much but on the other hand he didn't.
I would have loved if some chapters were written from Dante's point of view. I loved Dante so much and really hope that there is actually a sequel coming which is written from Dante's pov.
The ending was a bit too abrupt for me.
The book basically ended where it peaked.And I was so hyped during the last 100 pages and wanted to read about these characters for at least a 100 more... but then it ended.
But I can definitely say that I will carry these characters and their story with me. They will most certainly stay in my mind and heart for a long time.
CAN I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK?
Yes! Absolutely! Definitely!