– or how judging a book by its title and/or even the blurb can sometimes mislead you
(WARNING – massive spoiler alert!)
So, these past 2 weeks me and my Reading Buddy D00dette have been reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. She suggested a bunch of books and I gotta admit, I chose this one because of the title – it sounded like fun. And I kind of expected there to be some exploration and stuff. But I was mistaken in the quality of the “discovering” that was going on in this book.
This book just kind of went along, there was no real drama, although there’s so much potential
- the main character’s brother is in prison and no one in his family wants to talk about it,
- the main character’s best (and only) friend is gay and in love with him
- he saves said best friend from being run over by a car and ends up with both his legs and one arm in full cast
- his father is a Vietnam veteran who doesn’t really speak to him and who is suffering from serious PTSD
the list could go on, and a different writer would have made all of these dramas the centers of the narration at one point or another, and the novel would have ended up being like 800 pages long. But this guy doesn’t do that. In stead he just writes along from the point of view of Ari. He just writes and writes. He makes the character confront all these dramas and just go on.
He does focus on one thing, however – he focuses on the problems of emotional and mental development that happened to all of us during those most awkward years between 16 and 20something.
How many times have you asked yourself – when will I be a GrownUp, when will I start feeling like a GrownUp? Do I want that? And the one that still haunts me personally (and I’ll use a quote this time)
“When do we start feeling like the world belongs to us?”
So many questions some of which have been my loyal companions since my puberty…
There are no answers in this book, just a way one person has tried to deal with all those big life questions.
In addition to all this, Ari also tries to deal with his sexuality, with the way his body and his emotions have been developing. This is a scary thing for everyone, I believe, not just, as is the case with Ari, for homosexual boys. And the ending is perfect I feel. There is no steamy sex scene, there is no bodice ripping or ass grabbing, there is only:
“I placed my hand on the back of his neck. I pulled him toward me. And kissed him. I kissed him. And I kissed him. And I kissed him. And I kissed him. And I kissed him. And he kept kissing me back.”
I’ll end this post here because I’m getting all cheesy and that’s not good for my street cred 😉