Of Wonderland Book Club discussion

June - SUMMER READS > Buddy read: Aristotle and Dante

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message 1: by Inge, Mad Hatter (new)

Inge (omgitsinge) | 1361 comments Mod
For our monthly buddy read, you have chosen Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. This discussion will be led by the scrumptious Puck.

Please keep spoilers under spoiler tags! You can do this by typing < spoiler>SPOILER HERE< /spoiler> and removing the spaces. Thank you. ♥

message 2: by Puck, Knave of Hearts (new)

Puck | 981 comments Mod
Welcome everyone! Not only is this book a great summer read, but June is also Pride Month! 🌈 So if you're thinking of reading some LGBT-literature to celebrate, this book is perfect for that as well.

I hope everyone has a good time reading! 😊

message 3: by Puck, Knave of Hearts (last edited Jun 08, 2018 09:34AM) (new)

Puck | 981 comments Mod
Hi readers old and new, I've got some questions for all of you! 😃

Reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is fun on its own, but this is a bookclub in which talking to others makes the reading all the richer. That's why I've got some questions for you about the book and its characters.
You can think about them while you read or try to answer them once you're finished, but mostly I hope they enrich your reading experience and this beautiful book itself :)

1. At the start of this book, Ari feels miserable and like he doesn't belong. Why do you think he feels that way? Because of his family, or because of something within himself?
2. Explain how Bernardo's absence and the war-past of Ari's father impact the family.
3. We read the book through the eyes of Ari. Which scene would you like to see through the eyes of Dante?
4. Through the book, we see how slowly Ari and Dante fall in love with each other. Who realizes it first? Why has Ari a harder time admitting his feelings, and how does he comes to term with them?

message 4: by Puck, Knave of Hearts (last edited Jun 21, 2018 03:56AM) (new)

Puck | 981 comments Mod
Well I only started my reread this week, and thanks to me catching a cold I got pretty far into it already! Which is wonderful, because rereading this book always makes me feel warm (and makes me cry, haha!).

Let's see if I can answer some of these questions already:

1. I already had a gut feeling, but upon my reread I saw it clearer: Ari at age 15 is depressed. It's not just showing in him feeling sad, but also in Ari's anger and frustration in a larger part of the book. He's upset that he doesn't belong, and while he wants to (to confirm to the norm), he doesn't really know how.
Apart from that, the pressure of his family to be "the good son", combined with the fact that no one wants to talk about the other one, really gets Ari down.

3. I want to read about the accident and the aftermath. I forget how big of an issue it was in this book, but rereading the part now and seeing what tension it brings to Dante and Ari's relationship, really makes me want to read the story from Dante's P.O.V.

4. And although I'm not finished yet, I think Ari has a harder time admitting his feelings because he feels so unhappy about himself for the largest part of the book. He's so busy battling his own self-doubt (and depression), and his anger towards his father and Bernardo, that he can only come to terms with his love for Dante once those problems are resolved.

message 5: by Puck, Knave of Hearts (last edited Jun 25, 2018 05:26AM) (new)

Puck | 981 comments Mod
Will there be a day where I finish this book without tears? Probably not! Saturday I was done with this book and I had a good cry about it's beauty and its power and love. 5 stars, once again, no doubts.

So although nobody participated - Really guys: only voting and not reading? that's no fun - I had a good time rereading this. :)

Now for the last question:
2. What I noticed was how Bernardo's absence doesn't only affect Ari - from who we hear the most - but also his mother.
His father is very wrapped up in the war, but especially near the end you learn how much Ari's mother has been hurt by Bernardo in the past (her break-down) and how she still is hurting. She says it herself: she's so strict with Ari about drinking and fighting because of Bernardo's crimes.
I'm glad that in the end she learns to let those thoughts go and see Ari for who he is - a flawed kid, but not a copy of his brother.

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