Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe By Benjamin Alire Saenz
I picked this book up because I saw the multiple awards it garnered on the cover. I had absolutely no idea whether this book had good reviews on websites like GoodReads. I also didn’t know what the story was about save for the synopsis. Lastly, I’m not a fan of gay literature or “coming out of the closet” type of books. I don’t hate it, just not fond of reading them.
When I read the first few chapters, I thought it would be your typical “coming of age” book where we witness the protagonist growing up to be a better and stronger person. I also thought the protagonist would have his own circle of friends who grows up with him and maybe a love interest or two. I was right on all accounts but I didn’t know it would be a complex yet emotionally provoking story about what being gay meant beyond falling in love with the same sex.
I’m not going to spoil the book, and keep this short because I have too many darn things to do, but what I can tell you is it’s slow paced but not boring and each chapter is brimming with emotion and you can’t help but empathize with the characters in the story. Anyone who had trouble being accepted by their parents and society will surely relate to this book, gay or not gay.
The character build up was simple and straight forward. Nothing too complex for the voracious reader. Setting was also simple and straight forward and made sure you put yourself in the position of the protagonist each time he starts talking. The plot was realistic in a sense that it wasn’t some once in a lifetime event or covered a rare occurrence.
No kidding. It was a fairly simple plot: A story of a young boy’s journey towards maturity and finding his place in the universe with the help of his family, his friends, and a special someone he looks up to and wants to protect for the rest of his life.
See? Everyone can relate to that, right?
Not a fan of gay literature but this one was a good read. I recommend it but I probably won’t be reading it again or any of the author’s new books.
Favorite quote: “I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.”