A spoiler free review
Some stories are a roller coaster of emotions. it is almost impossible to put down the book because of the urge to know what will happen next. Some stories spell anticipation and thrill. It’s an adventure to flip through pages filled with action.
But some stories are like a gentle boat ride. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (by Benjamin Alire Sáenz) is one of them.
Imagine yourself in a small boat , there is no noise, just a soft murmur of nature that envelops you. The sun shines bright but it’s not blinding, the canopy of trees provides a delicate shade. And you are lying on your back, eyes closed and thinking about everything and anything.
It’s pleasant yes, but not always. Sometimes the boat rocks too hard, sometimes it’s not so comfortable lying on hard floor. But that’s okay, it’s part of the journey.
Similarily, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe- it’s not plain joy. It’s about two teenagers and their journey towards finding themselves, so naturally angst walks with the two boys. Within the pages of this book you will find a blend of all human emotions. It’s raw and it’s real. Aristotle and Dante may not be famous Greek philosophers- but they teach the reader a few lessons of life. Together Aristotle and Dante share the secrets of the universe with the reader.
And it’s not just Ari and Dante who will catch your attention, their parents too are written with sincerity.Reflections of their personalities and upbringing are seen in the distinct mannerisms of Ari and Dante.
Scars. A sign that you had been hurt. A sign that you had healed.
This is one of the many breathtaking lines in the book and if the plot was to be described in one line without giving away any spoilers- this would be it. And indeed, the book ends with the metaphorical (and literal) wounds healed.
As someone who is in the phase of life where the secrets of the universe are very much a mystery, where discovering myself is still a work in progress, I enjoyed the book immensely.
And as I finished the book- I smiled, my fingertips grazing the last of the words tenderly and I thought –
what a beautiful journey it was.