Julio Genao's Reviews > Call Me by Your Name

Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman
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's review
Jan 17, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: cuz-karen-says-so
Recommended to Julio by: karen

A/N 03/18: i did this. and like all my public mistakes, erasing the evidence of it won't erase the consequences.

it stays.

as much to remind me how it happened as to accept that it did at all.

little intimacies.


of the many, many aspects of this book that resonated with us, one in particular was the basis of an interesting exchange between me and author santino hassell.

that exchange is excerpted below.

SH: what do you think so far

JAG: i like it. it's very good at being what i think of as authentic teen gay boy POV

SH: it reminds me of something

JAG: it reminds me of a lot of things

SH: the parts where he's talking about how hot and cold the love interest dude gets

JAG: yes, with his facial expression

SH: yeah

JAG: that, specifically that. i've been there. with someone like that. it's a little scary. and then you understand them and it stops being scary, sometimes

SH: yes. i had a friend like that. when i was a kid. i thought i was in love with him but he was straight

JAG: i was thinking of the exact same thing. i had the exact same thing. a friend, when i was a teen. he'd be warm and affectionate and then his face would go cold like i was a stranger

SH: yes. that's how my friend was. i think he suspected i wanted him. he didn't know how to feel about it

JAG: that's what that scene in the book is about. they realize you have deeper feelings and they don't know how to deal, and then their face goes fucked, in this moment of vulnerability. they can't hide the panic or the revulsion

SH: yes

JAG: and it looks like that

SH: yes

JAG: because straight dudes can feel warm affection for you too, obviously. and for a moment—with some of them—they feel... when they realize you want them, they feel that their affection has left them exposed. like their affection has been abused

SH: that's exactly what my friend acted like. like all the times we'd been close, i'd taken advantage of him. he suspected me. and then he found out when he caught me and another boy fooling around in the locker rooms. found out that i really was bi. and then he knew he'd been right about me, and didn't know how to handle it

JAG: in the book, i recognized it right away. that feeling of ...recoiling

SH: yes

JAG: of resentment. it looks like that

SH: that was... a horrible experience

JAG: it happened to me too. i wonder if it happens to every queer person

SH: i wonder the same thing

JAG: like imagine you're a girl, you have your best girl friends, going to the bathroom together, secrets, sharing lipstick...

SH: yeah

JAG: little intimacies. and then you tell your girlfriends you're queer and they remember all those times, all those intimacies

SH: that's what happened with him, with my friend. he listed all of these things and acted like i'd manipulated something to make those things happen, or like i'd taken advantage of opportunities

JAG: instead of it being about basic humanity, about you being the same person you always were, it was about... about whatever

SH: he made me cry like a bitch

JAG: i'm sorry

SH: i even apologized. even though i hadn't done anything. because i didn't want him to hate me. but he did anyways

JAG: that's fucked. and i know exactly what that's like

SH: yea?

JAG: the first time i ever cried in public was when he told me he didn't want to be my friend. it's a thing that sticks with you. and i... turned into a different person, after that

SH: i'd never been rejected as an entire person because i was bi, before

JAG: i lost all my friends. because i'd made him #1 and everyone else peripheral. and when he was gone, he took all the rest with him

SH: if we smoked he refused to hit the same pipe. before he found out. he was on to me. i don't hide my feelings very well, on my face

JAG: kids feel things with everything. you loved him. and that's hard to hide

SH: when we smoked together i kinda got off on how the blunt or the pipe would be kind of damp from his mouth

JAG: i liked that too. my best girl friend would light my cigarette for me like that. like humphrey bogart. and i would feel really good

SH: i always remember that

JAG: me too

SH: he mentioned it. when he was telling me what a horrible person i was. and that's when i started crying

JAG: asshole

SH: actually i think he felt bad. but not bad enough to take it back

JAG: where was this

SH: at school. he saw me fooling around with the other kid and ran away and i chased after him for two blocks

JAG: shit

SH: he came into the locker room and saw, and gave me this look of disgust and hatred, and i followed him. he told me off on the corner. near central park. he was disgusted i was even near him. and that's where i lost it

JAG: my shit happened at school too

SH: where

JAG: in the building. during class. the hall. i wrote him a letter to ask if we could be friends again and gave it to a teacher's assistant who taught in both of our classes to hand it to him the next day. his class was before mine, so the whole day after i felt like i was going to throw up but also full of this crazy hope. and so finally that class rolls around, with the TA i gave my letter to, and she takes me out into the hall with her to give me what he wrote back. she hands me this folded up thing, and it's my own letter

SH: wow

JAG: and the thing is, dude—it was like being crazy, because i'm smelling him just then. because he had this smell, and only he smelled like this, a really, really good smell. and his smell was on this piece of paper in my hand, on my own letter, and she's saying to me "i'm really sorry. he just said no." and that was it. cried my eyes out right there in the hall in front of whomever

SH: people are fucked. like it's a violation

JAG: i think the point is that it feels like one, to them. they panic. and they don't know how to manage things gracefully. and when you're that young, you really don't. and that leads to The Look. it leads to The No.

SH: yea

JAG: whole-person rejection. for stupidity.

SH: you wanna know something weird? before that happened with my friend, i could fool myself into thinking he semi-reciprocated. he seemed to like being close to me

JAG: that is probably not something you imagined. like with my friend... we had this... unspeakable intimacy? little things

SH: yes

JAG: nice things

SH: yes

JAG: like there's this fence. made out of steel poles in the ground and a single chain, like a suspension bridge, behind the bus stop. we'd stand there every day, waiting for the bus. and while we waited he'd try to balance on the chain, like a tightrope walker. and i'd stand near him. like right under him, just casually talking and whatever like i wasn't loving it, loving him touching me, loving his smell. he'd put his hand on me. he'd rest his weight on me. and we'd just stand there doing that. every day

SH: little things like that matter

JAG: yeah. and there were a thousand of them

SH: ...damn this book

JAG: i am mildly peeved at it as well. the nerve, making us remember this shit

SH: whatever

JAG: yeah, whatever

SH: not like it has anything to do with who we are now

JAG: right, no, totally, nothing

SH: real men don't cry

JAG: i have never cried a day in my life

SH: are you going to use any of this in your review

JAG: obviously

SH: if you put the sissy bits in it i will kill you

JAG: not if i kill you first, motherfucker

SH: i said no!!! no means no!!!

JAG: fine, i'll change your name. a pseudonymous random author buddy talking books and queerz

SH: what will you use

JAG: i will be JAG and you will be PAB

SH: wtf is that

JAG: Punk Assed Bitch

SH: you dare

JAG: can't stop me. can't stop my flo

SH: no, i want Gay Chuck Norris

JAG: wut, Flaming Pustule McGee doesn't appeal to you?

SH: i should stab you

you may read santino hassell gay chuck norris’s review of this book here.

PS added january 23, 2018:

fuck me in the eye do i hate it when straight actors get kudos for playing queer characters.

that's not "brave," you simpering buttmunch, that's your profession.

i'm glad your vacation in the land of the Less Privileged was so critically acclaimed, but those of us out here exiled by our families or beat up in high school gymnasiums don't get to wear tuxedoes and tell the macabre fucks on entertainment tonight about our exciting growth as actors.

and to be perfectly frank, while i don't know timothy chalamet from a hole in the wall, me and armie hammer go way back—and so i feel led to clarify at this juncture that while i would still happily climb that man like a tree if he managed to keep himself in that doofily sexy, subvocal grunting range of human elocution, i nevertheless simply cannot with him and his comments about having to "pray on it" and ask his wife whether it would be "okay to play a gay man" in a movie.


no puedo.

*rude gesture*
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Reading Progress

January 17, 2014 – Shelved
January 17, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
May 17, 2014 – Shelved as: cuz-karen-says-so
November 8, 2014 – Started Reading
November 8, 2014 –
48.0% "man, this is killing me. BOOK Y U NO MAKE ME FEEL GUD ????"
November 9, 2014 –
100.0% "so tired of crying\n \n of loss\n \n will there ever be anything more than this for me"
November 9, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-50 of 72) (72 new)

Kristie I'm not sure how long you've had this on your list, but you should read this soon. I'm barely at 14% and I know that this is going to be an amazing ride. I thought of you immediately. I'm taking my time with it because I just know that it will be a book that sticks with me forever.

Julio Genao reading it today!

Nick Pageant Can't wait for your review, Julio!

Julio Genao shit, nick. I'm wrecked.

Nick Pageant julio wrote: "shit, nick. I'm wrecked."

Yeah, I know. This book is amazing. I got so caught up in the language I didn't realize the emotional ruin until it was all over. Great, great book.

Gerhard His latest, Harvard Square, is also highly recommended, quite different to Call Me By Your Name.

Nick Pageant This review is made of awesome!

Julio Genao thanks, nick. yours is great, too :-)

Julio Genao Gerhard wrote: "His latest, Harvard Square, is also highly recommended, quite different to Call Me By Your Name."

i'll have a look, gerhard. thank you very much for the heads-up

message 10: by Elsbeth (last edited Nov 10, 2014 01:22PM) (new) - added it

Elsbeth AWESOME... (the review that is!!)

message 11: by Star (new)

Star "it happened to me too. i wonder if it happens to every queer person ... like imagine you're a girl, you have your best girl friends, going to the bathroom together, secrets, sharing lipstick..."

The answer is yes.

message 12: by Star (new)

Star And, to be honest, I don't know if this experience is limited to queer people. Especially at that age, so many things can lead to "whole person" rejection.

message 13: by MLE (new)

MLE Booo....Chuck Norris is lame!

message 14: by Julio (last edited Nov 10, 2014 01:24PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Julio Genao Star wrote: "And, to be honest, I don't know if this experience is limited to queer people. Especially at that age, so many things can lead to "whole person" rejection."

i agree. i thought about that even as i wrote it, but that's what i said at the time, so i left it. good point, bb.

Julio Genao Elsbeth wrote: "AWESOME... (the review that is!!)"

thanks :-)

Julio Genao MLE wrote: "Booo....Chuck Norris is lame!"

tell it to le hassell

message 17: by Star (new)

Star julio wrote: "Star wrote: "And, to be honest, I don't know if this experience is limited to queer people. Especially at that age, so many things can lead to "whole person" rejection."

i agree. i thought about t..."

the conversation is very thoughtful; i'm glad you left as is. maybe the ultimate problem is the world is full of irrational fear and hatred. and we'd rather act horribly first and *think* later (if at all) than be subjected to the opinions of others. there, problem diagnosed.

Julio Genao people can be... people can become so messed-up

so easily

Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)* Hmmmm, I am sad to read this. I had a good friend in HS who was bi and although she asked me out, in a note, one day I like to think I had more grace than to think her sexuality defined her. I am straight, which I think she was aware of, and I simply said I was flattered but not interested in girls. I sincerely hope I have never hurt anyone that way :/.... considering myself and "Janet" are friends to this day I think I didn't.

Julio Genao i'm glad you're still friends. the relationships you form in your teens can be profoundly transformative.

as far as this book goes—don't worry. the part me and santino hassell discussed is only one single aspect of it. it is very rich, very dense, and very beautiful.

still sad, tho.

Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)* I will have to check it out.

Teen years are very transforming for everyone. I think those moments of crystal clear pain can define us, and not always in a bad way.

I, too, am grateful for our friendship over the years, she has been there for me in ways that no one else ever has. To think people are foolish enough to turn away from genuine affection because of sexuality saddens me.

Beth doesn't write  enough reviews I think many people have had moments like that. I had a friend John, we both worked at the local mall and when business was slow we would stand between our stores & share a coke and a cigarette. One day he was acting funny and when he went to pass me the coke pulled it back and said ' I should tell you something'. He said ' I'm gay' I said 'So?' This was back in the 80's when AIDS was first making an appearance. I think it was called gerds or something at first. He wanted to give me the chance to reject him. I didn't and we continued to share drinks & cigarettes as long as we were friends,

I've been rudely & publicly rejected for my religion. A neighbor lady came to welcome my daughter & to the neighborhood with a cake. While chatting she asked me to come to services with her. I thanked he nicely but told her I went to services at *** church. She plucked the cake out of my hands and left. I didn't even get a chance to cut it!! Try explaining to an 18 month old why the cake left.

Marcie Guapo, eres original! That is all.

Julio Genao Beth wrote: "Try explaining to an 18 month old why the cake left."


Julio Genao Marcie wrote: "Guapo, eres original! That is all."

*mil besos*

message 26: by Gaby (new) - added it

Gaby I have this inexplicable need to hug you both and hunt down those who hurt you..

You guys are awesome! And, Julio, thank you gor sharing this. :)

message 27: by Mel (new)

Mel Love your review, Joolz. You always break things down and make them personal. You're the best brain to heart translator.


Julio Genao Gaby wrote: "You guys are awesome! And, Julio, thank you for sharing this. :)"

you're very sweet. thanks for reading :-)

Julio Genao Mel loves Marco :-x, meet us on Leafmarks wrote: "Love your review, Joolz. You always break things down and make them personal. You're the best brain to heart translator. *hugs*"

ah, but this time I had hella good company! hugs to you, too ❤️

message 30: by Mel (new)

Mel Yes, I know... But you thought of using this as your review :-*

Emma Sea hey, link in last line doesn't linky??

Julio Genao try now

Emma Sea thank you :)

message 34: by Kathleen (new) - added it

Kathleen You guys. Screw the book. You made me cry a river.

message 35: by Nick (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nick Pageant Kathleen wrote: "You guys. Screw the book. You made me cry a river."

They did, didn't they? I felt the same way, Kathleen. (And I still want you to read the book.)

message 36: by Susan (new)

Susan I love you guys.

Julio Genao Kathleen wrote: "You guys. Screw the book. You made me cry a river."

noooooo don't screw the book! the book is great!

but thanks :-P

Julio Genao Susan wrote: "I love you guys."

we guys love you too :-*

Kristie you guys. seriously. i'm fucking crying again. i don't even know why anymore.

Julio Genao we feed on your tears

Kristie *fucker* :)

Julio Genao *evil titter*

♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣ *more ridiculously long group groping*

♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣ Star wrote: "And, to be honest, I don't know if this experience is limited to queer people. Especially at that age, so many things can lead to "whole person" rejection."

Very, very true. Hugs

message 45: by Dani (last edited Jun 30, 2015 05:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dani Did you seriously have to break my heart? With a REVIEW of all things?

Julio Genao don't worry. everything is temporary.

message 47: by MLE (new)

MLE ♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣ wrote: "*more ridiculously long group groping*"

Can never be long enough.

message 48: by Dani (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dani :-) Yeah. (Though exactely those formative experiences leave damage in their wake that's not really temporary. But as you guys said so eloquently: Whatever. Dammit.)

Julio Genao *fistbump*

you get me. you really, really get me.

message 50: by justanya (new) - added it

justanya julio wrote: "*fistbump*

you get me. you really, really get me."

Ok... enough of making me cry with your damn reviews... and thank you. My BF and I are going through precisely this moment right now. We've been BF for over 20 years. I don't even want to contemplate what my naive young self would have done/ said if her coming out as bi to me occurred in High school instead of now when we're older and wiser.

When I was younger, I acted within the parameters of what I knew my parents would find acceptable/ unacceptable. In a family with five kids I kinda did anything/ everything to get my parents approval.love. attention. Jan Brady/ Middleton, just about sums it up. The conversion between Santino and you have struck a chord with me. I am ashamed to admit this but as I read it I thought to myself what my reaction would've been in high school if my bestie realized back then and came out to to me as bi. Truth is my younger, tunnel visioned, self centered, judgmental self would have reacted the same way as your friend and Santino's.
I am grateful her and I dodged that bullet. I think of all our experiences over the years and shudder to think we would have lost all that because of my stupidity.

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