Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Pub Date: 2012
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆
View on Goodreads
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…