Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Why you should read this book: everything about this book is important, everyone should read it!
Aristotle, for short Ari, is 15 years old, he has trouble talking about his feelings and he doesn’t have any friends. But then he met Dante at the pool where he taught him how to swim. Dante knows how to do a lot of things Ari can’t. He shows him how to love books, poetry books, art and life.
This is a story about family, friendship and love. This is a story about life.
It is so true: we all fight our private wars.
It took me a long time to finish this book because I read it really slowly, so slowly that the characters kept living their days in my head when I didn’t know what they were really doing. In my head I invented what they were doing during the days that weren’t described in the book. I really wish I’m not the only one doing it. It feels weird but also it feels good, like I’m contributing in some way to the development of the story.
Let’s talk about the two magnificent boys in this wonderful book. Aristotle is a great main character, smart, conflicted, a 15-year old boy, with all the problems that age come with. He has holes in his life, so many things are not how they’re supposed to be. In his house there is silence. He has a big brother that everyone pretend doesn’t exist because he is in prison but nobody wants to tell Ari anything about him. This makes him feel incomplete. He doesn’t like to talk about his feelings so as a result he is always angry with the world.
Then along came Dante, a bright young man with a warm smile and a shoeless way to live his life. They are so different and they unknowingly help each other. Dante is curious about everything, he is experimenting in life because if you have doubts about who you really are you have to try a lot of things so that you can figure out what makes you happy, what it’s worth fighting for.
Their friendship is one I can only dream of. They don’t always talk, they are often quiet, they fight, they find out a lot about themselves when they think of each other. They fit perfectly together, no wonder they become best friends almost right away.
I could give this book a thousand stars and still I’d feel is not enough. When a book makes me feel this way it can only mean that it’s perfect, the perfect book to love, to think about when things are not great, when you need to smile a little.
I love how smiles were so important. Smiles where described a lot: sweet, sad, enigmatic, fake. Smiles are what I love the most about human beings (and every other being on this planet), they’re the first thing I look at in a person.
Have you ever watched a person smile and his face and whole body just start glowing? There’s magic in smiles, something it’s not easy to describe, you have to see it and feel it. Rest assure, when you see that kind of smile, no matter how bad is your day/week/month/year/life, for a couple of seconds everything disappears and you find yourself smiling and everything just feels right. Yeah, just perfectly right!
What an incredible book, don’t miss it.
So let’s smile and look at the stars!
Do I recommend it? Yes, 500% yes.
☆: It made my “favourite books” list