Discovering the Secrets of the Universe

9 Jun

It has been approximately 30 minutes since I finished reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Santo. Since then, I have teared up, wiggled around in my bed, paced my house in the middle of the night, and felt the urge to write a blog post. I guess you can see how I ended up here in my basement at 1 am.

I guess you could say this book isn’t that remarkable. It’s pretty clear-cut and simple, but there’s a raw kind of beauty to it that makes you know that it isn’t something you can just pass by easily. The dialogue cuts into you as you read, the emotions are laid bare for you to soak up, and it just makes you feel. The message of loving someone wholly, on an emotional level before even considering a physical level, sneaks up on you enough that the ending is surprising but pleasing (The ending may also seem like a bit of a jump, but Ari isn’t that great at sharing his emotions, so maybe he wasn’t telling us about everything going on in that head of his). Ari’s tale of growing up as a teenager is laughingly dramatic at times (he’s perfect at being an angst-filled teen) but also so relatable and perfect at capturing emotions and experiences we’ve all gone through at some point, or will go through eventually.

When I first started reading the book, I texted my friend that this is such a great book to get into the mood for summer. Boy, what an understatement. This book is such a great book to get into the mood for growing up. I have the urge to do more things, to start living properly. The moment I finished, I thought that I wanted to write a review for it. I thought that I wanted to write a review for every book I ever read.

‘So in essence, become more like Thomas?’ I thought to myself. (I have some friends who you know, perhaps like me. They are all very intelligent and wonderful. Thomas obsessively reads, writes reviews, and then catalogs those reviews.)

Actually, what a strange and accurate thought that was.

Write more reviews? Check

Read more? Check

Write more in general? Check

Spend less time online and on television? Check

Workout more? Check

Think more, care more deeply about everything? Check

But even if I copy my friends actions, I wouldn’t be copying their personalities. I wouldn’t lose any part of myself or imitate any part of themselves through certain actions. I would still have my own unique and lovely personality. And I think that’s wonderful.

Okay, it’s still 1 a.m. and the thoughts this book has inspired may have turned a bit weird. Time to go to sleep and not try to find Aristotle and Dante fanfiction. Ante? Daristotle?

Alright, alright. Goodnight.


2 Responses to “Discovering the Secrets of the Universe”

  1. Thomas June 9, 2013 at 9:54 AM #

    Ah I’m so glad this book has inspired you and touched you! See, aren’t my book recommendations superb? (; But beyond just the sheer emotional strength of the book and Saenz’s writing, it made me realize that growing up and becoming a better person isn’t the same for everyone – Ari didn’t get into some Ivy League University and he didn’t make some big change in the world, but he’s still happy and successful. Same with Dante. It’s like, we all hold ourselves to such high standards, especially you and me, when in reality it’s about making those small changes and learning to have a deeper love of the world around us.

    Not sure if any of that made sense but yeah, beautiful book is beautiful. Great review, too. The best novels make you reevaluate your own life, and this is one of those novels. On a random note don’t you think this book would’ve worked extremely well for the AP Lit prompt this year about bildungsroman? So many magical moments between Ari and Dante… and your ship names win all the way.

    • callmelia September 6, 2014 at 8:11 PM #

      I’m shipping Aristante myself.

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