Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz


This is a 5 star coming of age novel. It's about family, friendship, and acceptance. It's brilliantly written prose. My brother and I listened to it on a road trip home from the Okanagan Valley to Vancouver. We were often forced to stop the story in order to absorb a line or phrase.


“I got to thinking that poems were like people. Some people you got right off the bat. Some people you just didn't get--and never would get.”

Sometimes we stopped the story to have a conversation about what was going on. Never have I listened to a book with someone where we were both so affected by it.

“Words were different when they lived inside of you.” 

At the same time as being unique individuals, these characters embody universal truths about what it means to be human. I love them all, but especially the boys, Ari and Dante. I love that who they are as people is so much more important than anything else about them. I love their parents. I wish all boys going through this could experience such unconditional love. 

This isn't a fast paced action book. It's a thoughtful perusal into family dynamics, identity, and sexuality.

I laughed that Dante hates to wear shoes. (So do I)
I ached that Ari's father come back from war burdened with invisible scars.
I cried that Dante experienced the mindless hate of ignorance and prejudice.
I rejoiced that Ari's self acceptance is facilitated by his loving parents.

Some books take your breath away as you read them. They resonate long after they are done, whispering phrases and small bits of truth.

“Maybe we just lived between hurting and healing.” 

You forget the characters are fictional and wonder how they are doing. You want it to never end and when it does, you go and check out all of the author's books from your public library. Maybe you'll even purchase them.

This is one of those books.

No comments:

Post a Comment