Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Unicerse
by Benjamin Alire Saenz
My rating for this book: 5 stars out of 5
Reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is like riding a roller-coaster. The book is about a boy named Aristotle in 1987 trying to get through his fifteen year old life while being a Mexican-American, his father being traumatized by the Vietnam war, having a brother in jail, and meeting a talented and witty boy named Dante. The book starts off with a lighthearted tone of Aristotle and Dante bonding together as friends, but when summer ends and Dante leaves which makes you feel like a part of you has been taken away. The school year seems like the loops of a roller-coaster where the boys have no control over themselves, but are also discovering new things about themselves. When summer comes back, the boys meet again as more mature individuals. There is also a revelation in the last few chapters of the book which makes everything fit and creates a beautiful ending.
The two main characters of the book are Aristotle and Dante. Aristotle is a cautious character at the start of the book. Suffering from teenage angst and the inability to swim, Ari is trying to get through his fifteen year old life. Ari is a man of many questions which is similar to the philosopher Aristotle. Dante, on the other hand, is the energetic boy who helps Ari swim and has a gift for poetry and art. Dante, who is an emotional character, shows Ari the world through a different perspective.
The book is beautifully written and an amazing experience. The book feels like a long, never ending summer, in the best way. This book is best for readers who like a realistic fiction and are curious about how people view ideas and topics in the 1980s.