Thursday, 14 March 2013

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

A book has a power to move a person’s heart. Once in a while, you’ll meet this kind of read. For me, the book is known as Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by the writer-poet, Benjamin Alire Sáenz. The book is a cosmos by itself. It is such a beautiful book, that you long to reread once you reach the final word.

This coming-of-age story tells about a Mexican-American boy known as Aristotle a.k.a. Ari. Ari is all alone and angry. He thinks life has been so unfair to him and he is being shaped by rules created by others, especially his parents [though he really loves them actually] who seem to keep so many things from him. Ari’s life changes as soon as he meets Dante, a whimsical, kind-hearted, carefree, art-loving boy who, like Ari, is also a loner. Fate has chosen to get these two seemingly different boys together, and from their friendship, they learn to discover and accept their true selves.

I can’t start my review without touching on its cover. Yeah, its cover! Methinks it’s one of the most gorgeous looking novel covers out there. I really love it, with all the graphics and the red truck [which plays a big role in the story].

The story itself is so astounding, moving, beating like heartbeats. Every sentence in the book is simple, but in that simplicity, you will never miss the kind of language that a poem contains. I really love how Sáenz wrote his book. Each chapter, even if it’s as long as 13 pages, or as short as a single paragraph, is a melodious song. I really, really love the prose.

The heart of the novel lies within the titular characters, Aristotle and Dante. They are so honest, so lovely, so damaged, so vulnerable, so real, that they tug my heart like a real person will. I know somehow it does not make sense, but yes, they do. I guess I feel that way because maybe I think that the characters are a kind of an extension of my real life. I love both Ari and Dante. And I love their parents too, Mr and Mrs Mendoza and Mr and Mrs Quintana. Oh yeah, Legs included [that’s Ari’s loveable dog].

This novel shines like the brightest star in a night sky. It makes you wonder, it makes your soul alive. It’s a universe in the form of words.

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