Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe


How I miss writing boring book reviews like this Hahahahaha

If I'm not mistaken the last book I read and blogged was Marie Kondo's ever popular, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I believed in her principles so I lent the book to someone. Only to discover that someone did not surely read it and worst, I might be not able to recover the book. I feel a little regretful because honestly, the book is expensive and hard to find among the local bookstores. Wishful thinking : I hope I get GCs, discounts or receive it as a Christmas gift.... which surely will not happen because as I have said, the book is so mahalia fuentes (expensive in our local gay linggo). Hahahahaha

Before I make other side stories, I made this post to relate my thoughts about a recent read. I landed on this book because I remember a few months ago, Book Depository sent me a discount voucher that was too hard to resist. The team behind Book Depository said they miss me (or my purchases) so they sent me a discount voucher to rip off my credit card again. Now that's how we define love. Hahahahaha At that time, all I wanted to purchase was the recent coffee table book of Kate Spade.  Problem is as always, expensive. When I did some conversions, I realized that it is still cheaper to purchase here. Although Php 1,128 is still not cheap for a book. I decided to settle for another paperback instead. My ever reliable source was the bestsellers list and Goodreads. I can't exactly remember what convinced me to settle with Aristotle and Dante. As far as I can remember, Goodreads' rating of 4.20 something out of 5 stars made it for me. 

The book garnered four awards. One of which was Michael Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. I wasn't familiar with the remaining awards. Only to later be surprised with the nature of these three award giving bodies. Truth to be told though, I have reservations with award winning literary pieces. Oftentimes, I end as one of the few who can't appreciate. But I guess, Aristotle and Dante was an exception.

I wanted to relate the theme of the novel but by doing that, I'm giving everyone a full spoiler. The best I can say, the book is another excellent coming of age story. Consider it as one of the classic stories where the young lead character, who happens to be Aristotle, is confused and seeking explanations to the endless complexities of life. In the course of Aristotle's teenage journey, he meets Dante who helped him figured out things including his identity.

The best thing about the book was how the author defined and presented love. Cliche, yes. But I can't help but admire how Benjamin Alire Saenz depicted the many aspects of love. Unselfish. Patient. Understanding. Moving and liberating. He showed different perspectives of love, which stems from family to friends and people we will eventually meet and change the course of our lives. One will surely unleash a different level of understanding and sensitivity for Aristotle and to the few people who might remind us of Aristotle. 

The book is compelling to some extent. As always, I kept a few powerful lines from the author

The problem with my life was that it was someone else's idea.

Maybe we just live between hurting and healing

Scars. A sign that you had been hurt. A sign that you had healed.

Part of me feels that the book was about parenthood. Despite being classified in the genre of Young Adult, I highly recommend this book for parents as well. Somewhere along the way, you will surely appreciate the message behind the story. 

Like what I always mention in my reviews, the areas I check for books include plot structure, character development and predictability of the ending. Plot structure wise, I love how everything was kept simple. Not so much substories which complicates the story. All the events were necessary to lead the much awaited ending. Character development was evidently present. More often than not, the author tends to emphasise character development on the lead subjects. In the case of this book, I love that each of the few character has their own share of development. I like how each of them transformed, consistent with the flow of the story. And as for the ending, at some point I have predicted the ending... especially when I saw the cover of the book's Korean version. It was a giveaway. Now don't google it if you have intentions of reading. But despite the presence of clues and teasers, I guess I was overpowered by the author's approach in story telling. It made up for everything.

With this, I'll leave my 5 out of 5 stars rating for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. 

9 comments :

  1. Dapat sa akin mo na lang pinahiram yung book ni Marie Kondo hehehe.

    Yung first two na nai-quote mo from the book, yan din yung mga unang linya na nabasa at nagustuhan ko nung sinearch ko yung Aristotle and Dante :)
    Mahalay din ba ang book na ito?...

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    1. as much as I don't want to relate.... hindi siya mahalay ... it gave a different approach in story telling

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    2. naisip ko lang kung nagkatugma ba yung paggamit ko ng "mahalay" means "mahal / expensive"? hahaha :)

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    3. hahahahahahahaahahahha sori naman, iba interpretation ko ng mahalay hahahahaha

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  2. Hi Diane! So sorry about the book that you will never have back :(

    Sounds like an interesting book! I love young adult novels to be honest. Maybe because despite the years that has gone by, I still feel like an awkward teenage girl inside. Instead of seeking explanations in life though, I'll just wait for life to unfold and then realise why things happened the way they did.

    Anyway, I really like the way you presented the book, such artistic taste! :)

    Miss you!


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    1. Uy Jen!!!!! Na Mimiss ko na kayo ni Lorraine :)

      Salamat!!! Ikaw lang ang nakaka appreciate ng reviews ko. Regards to your two kids

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    2. Hi Diane... So sorry kung lulubog lilitaw ako... and the last post you have read. Haay. I think I have overcome it now. Slowly, I am trying to revive my blogger world and of course my long overdue debts to you and to other friends. I hope I could surprise you soon. :)

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  3. How long did it take for the book from BD arrive?

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