Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

This book. This book, you guys. It made me so inexplicably sad and emotional and UGH, I just wanted to cry for more than half of it. And you know who I blame that on? Ari. Because he was the kind of main character whose emotions bleed out of the book and into you and WHOOPDIEDOO—oh look at that, you’re crying. Ha! Now we’re all crying, isn’t that just great? It’s like one big crying fest. But we’re in it together so it’s FINE. EVERYTHING IS FINE.

If the Ari from the beginning of the book were here right now, he’d make a rule that we can’t cry. Because he’s that type of person. He’d probably also take the blame for my emotional mushiness. He’d say “okay.” … WHY AM I HURTING MYSELF LIKE THIS.

God, I want to just lay down with this book and sob softly while petting it because Ari is in there and he’s precious and I need to take care of him, okay? He needs a hug. I need a hug. EVERYONE JUST NEEDS A HUG, OKAY. Hugs are important.

I don’t really know what in particular about this book that I loved. I can’t pin it down. Maybe it was that the emotions that spilled out of Ari and onto the pages for me read were just so raw and real and dug under my skin. Maybe it’s that I understood Ari. Maybe it’s because I felt like we’ve all been where Ari was before. In that dark place that’s a part of growing up. That stage where you don’t understand who you are and you don’t really feel like you fit in anywhere and you don’t know how to explain that to other people. So you don’t.

I think that’s what really got me with Ari; what really made my heart soften for him. He was such a quiet boy, but he had so much to say. So much. And if only he’d known how to say it, perhaps he would’ve. It’s that silent battle he was constantly having with a turmoil of emotions that drew me into this book. He was tough and he was fragile.

And can I just say how much I love the parents in this book? I loved reading about the relationships both Dante and Aristotle had with their parents AND with each other’s parents. It was probably one of my favourite things about this book. The relationships the characters all had with each other was so precious and made my heart soft and mushy and it made me want to cry for no real reason whatsoever. It was just that kind of book, with those kind of characters.

This book was a really quick read for me. It took me a mere few hours to swallow it whole. But those few hours were spent mostly with me blinking back tears at the nostalgia this book triggered in me. It was beautiful. It was a simple book, with a complex main character. It’s the kind of book where the characters are the story. Like a personal diary. It was certainly unique in the way that it was written. Ari’s voice as the main character made it what it was.

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