By Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Rating: 5/5 Stairs
Aristotle and Dante is a unique coming-of-age book in that it is told from a boy’s perspective, Aristotle (Ari). I could be wrong, but I think most of coming-of-age books seem to be from a girl’s point-of-view. Or maybe that’s just because I’m a girl and read a lot of Judy Blume when I was growing up.
Mr. Sáenz writes with quick, short chapters. Ari is fifteen years old. He doesn’t have many friends. He’s tough, but a little lonely.
The problem with my life was that it was someone else’s idea.
Ari meets Dante that summer at the swimming pool. Dante knows how to swim. Ari doesn’t. Dante offers lessons, and a friendship is born. Ari can talk to Dante about pretty much anything.
The writing is lovely. I have so many pages marked with different quotes I loved.
My mother and father held hands. 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.
The book starts in the summer of 1987, and takes place over the course of about a year. Being an 80’s kid myself, I enjoyed the nostalgia the book brought. Not that it was overwhelmed by the time period, but just little things here and there.
Ari’s journey over the course of the year was beautiful to read. His ups and downs through his friendship with Dante, as well as his journey of discovery from boyhood to manhood. I especially enjoyed the connection he is able to make with his father. Really a lovely book to read.