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

12000020Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Pub Date: 2012

My Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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Buy on Book Depository | Wordery

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.

I heard so much about this book. No, correct that. I’ve seen this book many, many times. It was popping up on my Goodreads, on blogs, sites with bookish lists. There’s no denying that this is a very popular book, and if there is a single person there that is reading this post that didn’t know about this book before I’d be shocked. If you’re that person – please say hello and tell us where have you been all this time.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a very quiet and slow book. There isn’t any action, frankly, not much is happening. But at the same time, it is a story of a huge change is lives of two boys. A change that is described in most subtle. The change that you could miss if you weren’t paying attention. Because there some people that don’t know details of the story, I won’t go further to describe this change.

There is a certain beauty to this book that many can appreciate. But I’m not among them. While reading this book I felt that this was written by an adult man, I felt that it wasn’t written for teens. It was written for other adults that from the perspective of time feel that their teen years were similar to Aristotle’s. A book to remind themselves of different times that are behind them, and now they can savour their life. The main characters in the book are teens in age, but they don’t feel like real teenagers. They exaggeratedly serious and sad. There are teens that are serious and sad, but in this case, this just didn’t work, it didn’t feel right for me.

I typically like sad stories of troubled characters, but those stories that I like are typically told from a female point. It was harder for me to understand a male, teen character. I didn’t develop any connection with Aristotle.

One last thing, that is a bit of nitpicking, but it was bothering me so much when reading the book. Both Ari and Dante are using each other’s names in conversations way too much! In a real life one on one conversation, no one is saying the other person name every other sentence. A sample from one phone conversation between Ari and Dante: “Are you reading something, Ari?”, “You know Dante, things”, “Like what, Ari?”, “I think that’s really cool, Ari”, “He’s in prison, Dante” – and that’s not all of the sentences with an unnecessary use of other’s name. Annoying…

13 thoughts on “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

  1. Annie Earnshaw says:

    Interesting point about the dialogue–I haven’t read the book (yet) but that is annoying to me when the dialogue is forced and sounds fake. Great review and your writing style is so honest and fresh 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ola says:

      Thank you 🙂 I hope you will like this book more than I did. And really – if it wasn’t for this excessive name usage I wounld’t mind those conversations.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Azia says:

    I loved this book, but I can definitely see where you’re coming from. Especially the point you made about the dialogue. I noticed that same exact thing too and it annoyed the heck out of me. No one uses another person’s name that much in everyday dialogue. No one LOL. Also, I agree that their behaviors weren’t wholly believable. I think their exaggerated moodiness was more to prove a thematic point but I couldn’t be sure. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one. Hope your next read proves much more interesting! 😀 Nice review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews says:

    Ah, sorry you didn’t enjoy this one! I loved it so much, but I definitely see what you’re saying about it being slow. When I first picked it up I wasn’t sure if I was going to love it as much as I did because of that reason, but I really fell in love with the writing style and characters. Great review, Ola!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom says:

    I didn’t love this one either. I felt like the first 60% was too painfully slow and had way too much teen angst… I did love the last 40% of the book, BUT I cannot really love a book where I had to struggle through the majority of it…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ola says:

      I also enjoyed the book a bit more towards the end. But in a lot of cases, I might not event get to this point because I was too bored at the beginning and I abandoned the book.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Samantha says:

    I loved the book, but I still see where you’re coming from! It’s pretty slow and some teenage angst, so yeah, I see how it might not be to everyone’s liking. Still, it was interesting to read your review. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ola says:

      I love how bookish community here is so amazing, and all of the readers that loved this book are not attacking me because I didn’t like it. I love you all for that, you’re amazing. I wish it was like this in all aspects of life…


      • Samantha says:

        People need to realize that there are things like different opinions and viewpoints, especially with books. What does or doesn’t resonate with someone is very personal and depends on a lot of factors. Honestly, it’d be boring if everyone liked the same books! Isn’t the whole point of a community to share our own thoughts and opinions in a mature way? At least, that’s how I feel about it. 🙂

        But yeah, some other aspects of life could do with a more open stance towards different thoughts and opinions. Naturally, there are exceptions to that as well, but that’s not the point.

        Liked by 1 person

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