Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
originally read in July 2015 [rating: ★★★★☆]
re-read from 8 to 10 September 2016
Goodreads rating: ★★★☆☆
Unfortunately, I really did not enjoy Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe as much as I did the first time. I originally rated it 4.5 stars. I’m only going to discuss the things I didn’t like this time, so maybe check out my original review for all of my thoughts (even though I might feel differently about things now).
I really disliked the writing style this time around, while it didn’t bother me originally. It was repetitive and the sentences where annoyingly short.
One minute Aristotle was having a conversation with Dante, the next line (not paragraph) he was having dinner with his dad. The dialogues featured very short sentences and it didn’t state clearly who said what. By no means am I saying that the writing was awful, but it really bothered me at times. And I’m not someone who reads books for their writing. I read books for their characters and plot. But when the writing bothers me, it bothers me.
While I like the ending, I can’t help but feel that it was rushed. Not the relationships, but the characters’ realisations. And it certainly wasn’t enough. So yes, I’m excited for There Will Be Other Summers, but I wasn’t satisfied with this one as a standalone.
This was really fast paced though. But there was no real plot. We follow a year in Ari’s life, but I wish things had been more relevant to the ending.
The entire book is from Ari’s perspective and I think he struggles with a depression. But on the last page, he finds a “cure”. And that bothers me. The things he struggled with sometimes had nothing to do with that. So I don’t see how the ending can help him with that.
Honestly, I only finished this about ten minutes ago, so I might be focussing on the negative aspects too much. I’m just disappointed I didn’t love this anymore, I really hadn’t anticipated that.
I do like the short chapters and how the queer characters weren’t portrayed in stereotypical way.
conclusion: This is the third book I have re-read in a row and unfortunately this is the first one I didn’t enjoy as much (or even more) as the first time I read it. Still, I’m excited for There Will Be Other Summers, because this is promising and the relationships can certainly be developed further. I honestly feel horrible for not loving this book, but I just didn’t connect with it this time around 😦