Monday, October 20, 2014

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

This has been on my radar for quite some time. I heard about it at a couple of conferences I attended, but didn't think much about it. Fortunately, a young person at my library recommended it to me, and I cannot wait to tell her how much I liked it.

Once again I found myself in the pages of a book. Ari, our narrator, says things that I have thought in my own head (and even said out loud to a few people). I always pause when I hit one of those lines. It is a moment of clarity and wonder. I am always surprised that others have felt the same way that I have. But enough about me...

Ari doesn't have any friends until he meets Dante. And he questions their friendship often (for a long time). Dante is so different. He seems so sure of things and thinks about life a unique way. Dante's father is a professor; his mother a therapist. They are outgoing and friendly. Ari's dad doesn't say much; he was in Vietnam and never talks about it. His mom is a teacher and more open with Ari, but she, too, keeps things locked inside. Neither talk about Ari's older brother who is in prison.

Ari wants nothing more than to know about his brother. He was just a child when his brother was incarcerated, so he has only possible memories of him. Ari wants someone to at least acknowledge that his brother exists.

With Dante, Ari's life is more interesting and frustrating at times. They are both growing and learning about themselves as tragedies happen and events separate them.

If it seems like I am being purposely vague, that would be because I am. I don't want to give anything away in this amazing story about these boys and their complex relationship with each other and their parents.

Books fascinate me. If you read enough and you are lucky, you might find one that speaks to you on levels you never could have imagined. This is one of those books for me.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog.

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