Linda Martin's Reviews > My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
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bookshelves: 2020, families, fiction, italy, poverty, romance

Beautifully written - I do like her writing style a lot - but there was not a whole lot of plot. This reads like a memoir about a friendship between two young girls as they grow up in 1950's era Naples, Italy. I appreciated the information about what life for a poor family in Naples might have been like in those years. In general, I love to know about how people in other cultures live.

There are numerous scenes or mentions of violence, often between the young men of the area as they attempt to keep their womenfolk pure and safe from evildoers. There were also mentions of the children being beaten by their fathers. It is a dismal situation for children, as in many cultures. Even these girl children were treated poorly by those who should have been trying to be their greatest advocates.

I listened to an audiobook version and at first was so confused about the multitude of characters, I restarted the book twice after getting several chapters in! I eventually looked for a character list on the web, and that helped a lot to make sense of what was happening. Later I saw the "preview" of the book at Amazon and realized in the print editions there's a character list at the front of the book. We don't get that in audiobooks! There's one more reason for preferring a print book, or Kindle edition. By the end of the book I was also getting tired of the narration. It was fine at first but just went on, and on, and on in that voice. She really sounds good, but after a few days, I wanted out. I was so happy to get to the end of this one.

I read this because a friend at our local book club reading group recommended it and wanted to discuss it with us. I'm doing the 2020 PopSugar Reading Challenge and decided to put this in the category for prompt #3, a bildungsroman, which is defined as a novel depicting a character's formative years or spiritual development. Perfect fit for this book about two girls growing up and coming of age in Italy.
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Reading Progress

February 6, 2020 – Started Reading
February 6, 2020 – Shelved
February 8, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
February 9, 2020 – Finished Reading
February 10, 2020 – Shelved as: 2020
February 10, 2020 – Shelved as: families
February 10, 2020 – Shelved as: fiction
February 10, 2020 – Shelved as: italy
February 10, 2020 – Shelved as: poverty
February 10, 2020 – Shelved as: romance

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