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

As a person who is part of the lgbt+ community and who also loves to read lgbt+ literature I always pay special attention to books within that “genre” (I don’t really agree with calling lgbt a genre but it is so). Aristotle and Dante was a book that I saw get a lot of talk and a lot of hype and has been on my tbr since probably about 2014.

Aristotle and Dante is a book about teenage angst and finding yourself. It’s a book about being a loner, being confused over your sexual orientation, and trying to figure out who your parents are.

I honestly felt like this book would’ve worked miles better as a film, I really enjoyed reading it but it reads so much more like a screen play than a book. There’s so much speech in it and just random short chapters that at times it just felt a bit disjointed and could’ve done with some sort of segway or montage or something like that instead of just a chapter about how Ari didn’t do anything for days.

I adored Dante, Ari not so much. He felt just really irritating and horrible at times. I would’ve much preferred to read from Dante’s POV but I think then I would’ve just loathed Ari. At least from Ari’s POV I could kind of understand and empathise with some of the obnoxious things he did.

I thought the way the author portrayed the confusion over latent homosexual feelings was really good though I didn’t like the ending which I don’t really want to discuss because I don’t like to include spoilers in my reviews.

As someone who hasn’t read a lot of books with diverse racial characters, not out of not wanting to it’s just happened like that (if you’ve read a good book with racially diverse characters hmu), I liked reading about the Mexican community of El Paso in the 80s, it was different for me.

Honestly I felt a bit let down by this book, it was an easy read and I did like it but there was so much hype and so many 5 star reviews that I was so excited to read this and for me it didn’t live up to that hype. It was sweet and sometimes annoying but I don’t know something just didn’t click with me.

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