Seven's Reviews > Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
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Aug 04, 12

bookshelves: pretty-sure-this-was-written-specif
Read from August 01 to 04, 2012

I JUST FINISHED THIS BOOK 2 MINUTES AGO AND IT MOVED ME SO MUCH THAT I HAD TO IMMEDIATELY JUMP ON GOODREADS TO DO A REVIEW. THIS WAS SIMPLY AMAZING. I LITERALLY HAVE NOTHING BAD TO SAY ABOUT THIS BOOK. THE WRITING WAS AMAZING, THE CHARACTERS WERE INCREDIBLE, AND I LOVED THE CHOPPY FORMAT OF THE BOOK. HERE'S MY LIST OF THINGS THAT I LOVED AND WHY:

1. THE CHARACTERS:

ARI-I DON'T THINK I HAVE EVER RELATED SO WELL TO THE CHARACTER OF A BOOK. IN A SENSE THIS WAS ALMOST LIKE READING A MEMOIR BECAUSE I WENT THROUGH THE EXACT SAME FEELINGS IN HIGH SCHOOL. I REMEMBER ALWAYS WATCHING THE OTHER KIDS AND WONDERING WHY I DIDN'T FIT IN? WONDERING WHY I WAS SO DIFFERENT, AND HAVING TO DEAL WITH MY MOTHER TRYING TO HIDE HER DISSAPOINTMENT AT THE FACT THAT I WAS SO UNPOPULAR. AT THE MOMENT WHEN ARI'S MOTHER BLURTS OUT "YOU DON'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS." I EVEN HAD A SIMILAR MOMENT LIKE THAT WITH MY OWN.

HOWEVER WHAT I ADMIRE ABOUT ARI IS THAT, EVEN AT THE YOUNG AGE OF SIXTEEN HE GAINS AN ACCEPTANCE OF HIS NATURE AND DOESN'T APOLOGIZE FOR IT. AND EVEN THOUGH HE DOESN'T REALLY LIKE HIMSELF THAT MUCH, HE DOESN'T TRY TOO HARD TO PRETEND TO BE LIKE THE OTHER KIDS. HE JUST CREATES HIS OWN HAPPINESS.

DANTE-WOW. JUST WOW. WHAT AN AMAZING, DYNAMIC, AFFECTIONATE CHARACTER. HE'S ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING CHARACTERS I'VE EVER READ ABOUT. I LOVE HIS HONESTY. HE SPEAKS HIS MIND AND THEN DEALS WITH REACTIONS LATER. I ALSO LOVE THAT HE IS EVERYTHING THAT ARI ISN'T AND THAT'S WHY THEY MAKE SUCH MATCH.

THE PARENTS-HOW DID YOU DO IT SAENZ? HOW DID YOU CREATE INTERESTING PARENTS IN A GENRE WHERE 90% OF THE TIME THEY ARE ONLY PLOT DEVICES? THIS IS PROBABLY THE FIRST TIME I HAVE EVER SEEN PARENTS WITH PERSONALITIES IN YA, WELL FREAKING DONE SIR.

LEGS-SWEETEST FICTIONAL DOG EVER!

2. INTERESTING SIDE PLOTS

NORMALLY, IN CHARACTER DRIVEN STORIES (THOUGH THIS IS ABOUT 50/50 WITH CHARCTER/PLOT), THE ONLY PARTS THAT INTEREST ME ARE WHEN THE MAIN CHARACTERS ARE INTERACTING WITH EACH OTHER. ANY OTHER SIDE PLOTS WITH ACTION THAT THE AUTHOR TRIES TO CREATE PRETTY MUCH GO IN ONE EAR AND OUT THE OTHER. BUT SAENZ ACTUALLY MADE THEM INTERESTING. I WAS ACTUALLY REALLY CURIOUS ABOUT WHAT HIS BROTHER DID. I WANTED TO SEE WHAT WOULD HAPPEN BETWEEN ARI AND ILEANA. I WONDERED WHAT HAPPENED TO HIS FATHER IN VIETNAM. I ACTUALLY GAVE A SHIT ABOUT GINA AND SUSIE AS CHARACTERS AND SMILED TO MYSELF WHEN THEY REAPPEARED AFTER DANTE CAME BACK. THE EXTRA THINGS HAPPENING OUTSIDE OF DANTE AND ARI WERE SO INTERESTING, THAT, TO BE HONEST I DIDN'T SEE A LOVE STORY FORMING UNTIL DANTE WROTE ARI THE LETTER ABOUT MASTURBATING.

3. MESSAGE ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY

THIS BOOK DOES AN EXCELLENT JOB OF DEPICTING HOMOSEXUALITY AS MORE THAN JUST A SEXUAL LIFESTYLE. DANTE COULD HAVE EASILY BEEN MADE A FEMALE AND THE STORY WOULD HAVE BEEN EXACTLY THE SAME. THIS BOOK SHOWS THAT GAY PEOPLE FALL IN LOVE AND HAVE THE EXACT SAME RELATIONSHIP CHARACTERISTICS AS STRAIGHT PEOPLE DO. SOMETIMES LOVE JUST CREEPS UP ON YOU AND IT'S NO DIFFERENT FOR GAYS. THANK YOU FOR HELPING TO CHANGE THE IMAGE THAT ALL GAY COUPLES JUST WALKED UP TO EACH OTHER AND RANDOMLY START KISSING IN A BAR.

4. REALISTIC DEPICTION OF FRIENDSHIP

FRIENDSHIPS IN FICTION ARE OFTEN DEPICTED AS JUST TWO PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO HANG OUT, BUT THROUGH HIS DIALOGUE BETWEEN DANTE AND ARI, SAENZ PAINTS AND VERY REALISTIC PICTURE OF A REAL FRIENDSHIP. IT'S NOT ALWAYS FUN AND GAMES. THEY HAVE GOOD MOMENTS, BAD MOMENTS, AWKWARD MOMENTS, AND SAD MOMENTS. BUT IN THE END THEY CONQUER ALL OF THAT AND STILL REMAIN CLOSE.

GODDAMN THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING! IT WILL DEFINITELY STAY WITH ME FOR A WHILE.

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