“I wondered what that was like, to hold someone’s hand. I bet you could sometimes find all of the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.”
Read: 30th, April, 2020
Rating: 4 Stars
Description: Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship–the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
It’s been such a long time since the last time I reviewed a book, maybe around two years now. This is going to be a very short review. To be true I’m afraid of writing. There are so many things on my mind, sometimes I feel that the creative part of my brain is a little dead. I guess that’s how it is when life hits you.
I have had this book on my to-read list for a very long time, and this summer when I’m back at home, I thought of finally giving it a read, and I liked it enough to just blast through it over the night, must have cried a few times, rolled my eyes and laughed at their conversations. It made me feel so many things, I just loved how real it all felt. I couldn’t put it down.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a coming to age story of two boys, Aristotle that goes by the name Ari and Dante, the guy Ari meets at the swimming pool. Dante teaches Aristotle swimming and that’s how their friendship starts to bloom. Ari and Dante are two very different individuals with one thing in common that they both don’t have friends. Ari on one hand bottle up his feelings and try to be away from people, on the other hand, Dante is all rainbow and sunshine who put himself out there and truly express himself, he was a breath of fresh air.
“I wanted to tell them that I’d never had a friend, not ever, not a real one. Until Dante. I wanted to tell them that I never knew that people like Dante existed in the world, people who looked at the stars, and knew the mysteries of water, and knew enough to know that birds belonged to the heavens and weren’t meant to be shot down from their graceful flights by mean and stupid boys. I wanted to tell them that he had changed my life and that I would never be the same, not ever.”
Their friendship starts with Ari finding Dante to be amusing, the way Dante looked at life made Ari spend more time with him. In the book, we see two boys who look at life very differently and how they learn about life from each other and simultaneously also discover themselves.
What I really liked about the book was the involvement of parents in the life of their teenage sons and how they tried to be more understanding of their growing boys. We also see the difference in Ari and Dante and how they behaved had so much to do with how they grew up. Ari bottled up everything because of how everyone in his family bottle up their demons and feelings.
“I had learned to hide what I felt. No, that’s not true. There was no learning involved. I had been born knowing how to hide what I felt.”
On the other hand, Dante’s parents are loving and they express that love which makes Dante be more expressive. However, we see the growth of both the characters and the change in their family dynamics for the good. They both learn a lot about themselves and about each other throughout their friendship.
The writing sometimes felt ordinary and at other times beautiful. The character development was good, however, some of the side characters still remained a mystery, I still don’t know how to feel about them, but maybe we are not supposed to feel much about them anyway. I didn’t know that this book has an LGBTQ theme, and that came by a surprise. Yes, I’m that stupid. However, I did realize towards the end, because the writer made it explicit.
I must say that I didn’t fully connect with the teenagers and especially Ari and how he just hated everything. But overall the book felt very human and that’s what I liked about it.
So if someone is looking for a book, that deals with a coming to age story, parent-child dynamics, friendship, a beautifully written lyrical prose should definitely give it a read.
The book is not perfect. A lot like life.