Tag Archives: book review

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.┬áThe 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.

Struck By Lightning Book Review

3 Jan
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Image via goodreads.com

3.5 stars

So, as a huge fan of Chris Colfer, I forced myself to read the book very objectively. And hooray, because I did! In all honesty, I thought the book was…okay. It was nice. Not stupendous. Just a good read.

Struck By Lightning is a book where the character, Carson Phillips, is a senior at a very conservative town Clover in California, and he desperately wants to escape to the college of his dreams, Northwestern. He is the head of a dead school newspaper and writer’s club, and when his counselor tells him his college application needs more sparkle, he decides to start a literary magazine. But the only way he’ll get submissions from his unwilling peers is to blackmail them-and that’s just what he does.

Schematically, the book was extremely short. Its girth may look decently novel-sized, but the font is very large, and it can be easily read in about 2 hours, if that. The main thing I noticed is that it lacked a middle, probably because of the short length. There was a very lengthy build-up of the exposition (the blackmailing didn’t begin until half-way through the book, which was the whole premise) and a lengthy end. What I desperately wanted was a middle-a growth.

Carson as a character didn’t really change until the end. There was some attempt at the whole ‘hey, maybe I don’t actually hate all these people!’ but it was never explored. In fact, nothing really was explored; the book was very tell, not show. Obviously it’s supposed to be a journal so that’s kind of expected, but the development was lacking. The whole emotional journey where perhaps the blackmailed students and Carson could get along occurred through perhaps four conversations and then a simple statement that hinted at change within Carson. Even at the end, Carson’s personal growth takes place over two pages and is just a whole lot of “I’m never gonna let any situation be a bad one, I will always fight for success and happiness”.

Chris Colfer, the author, is an extremely busy guy. And this book was hurriedly written AFTER the movie was created, and it was based on the screenplay. And it shows. It reads rather like a script, with the bare minimum in regards to fleshing out emotions and other character’s depth. And I think that’s where the movie comes in. The book is the supplement, not a stand-alone. The movie is the real star. Normally I stand on the opposite side, saying the book is usually better then the movie. But in this case, since the movie was in fact the original, it is sure to have a lot more to offer than the book; even based on the commercials, it gives us the emotions the book lacks, where small facial cues make up for words. And the ending will work much better with a movie perspective-not to give anything away, however.

All in all, the book was the bare minimum of what I’m sure is a spectacular story. I can’t wait to see it really shine in the movie version, where it can really come to life.