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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly heart-warming book,
Dying to Know You is very different from most of the books I've read this year. For a start it's narrated from the point of view of a man in his seventies and while it is a love story of sorts, it much more about the friendship between Karl and the narrator.
I loved the different styles Aidan Chambers used throughout this book. Both when Karl's answers were being re-written but also the poems and later in the story Karl explanation.
We learn a lot about Karl from the observations our narrator makes, his commentary being honest but without judgement, something that helps Karl open up. It's not just Karl that grows. I was actually surprised by how much characters such as Firella mature beyond their first impression.
Dying to Know You isn't action packed; it's a story that looks closely at love, family and friendship. It is a truly heart-warming book that will make you fall in love a little more, with each new page you turn.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Aidan Chambers,
This book is a slow burner. It didn't grab me at first, but by the time I was half way through I couldn't put it down. The story is narrated by an elderly author (we never know his name) and he gently relates what happens after a young man, Karl, appears at his door one day asking for help. Karl needs expert help as his girlfriend, Fiorella, has asked him to write down `in full dress English' the answers to a number of questions about his thoughts and feelings, but he has not yet told her that he is dyslexic for fear she will be one of the blinkered few who think dyslexia equals stupidity. From this `Cyrano de Bergerac' situation an unlikely friendship grows. The author and Karl are both grieving. The author has recently lost his wife and has not been able to write since, and Karl is still missing his father who died some years before. As the story progresses it is clear that Karl is helping the older man every bit as much as he is being helped and although this may all sound like the recipe for a depressing sort of story, it is a wonderfully uplifting book.
Aidan Chambers has written many books for young adults readers and he has been the worthy winner of many prizes for his writing. This book is not at all like any of the others I have read, but it is another certain winner in my eyes.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars beautifully simplistic,
Dying To Know You has a beautifully simplistic storyline that will entrance the reader from start to finish. It is expertly written and reads like a dream, Dying To Know You is one of them stories that will stick with the reader for a long time to come. Truly brilliant and unforgettable.
Karl is seventeen, he is in love with a sixteen year old girl called Fiorella. Fiorella has a passion for reading and writing so she asks introverted Karl to write down the answers to some of her questions. Thinking he might find it easier to open up about himself if he writes it down. But little does Fiorella know, Karl is dyslexic and writing is a horrific task for him.
So Karl enlists the help of a writer that he heard of from Fiorella, who is a fan of his works. Karl and the writer hit it off immediately and they are quite an odd pair, but the elderly writer sees similarities in Karl from himself in his youth. Turns out Karl is as big a help to the writer as the writer is to Karl.
Everything bumps along nicely until Fiorella finds out that Karl didn't actually write the answers to her questions himself. Things start to go down hill for everyone from here on in and Karl sinks into depression.
I don't want to give too much away, but Karl and the writer have a beautiful relationship that is delightful to read about. They are both socially awkward and like to keep to themselves. Karl gets so much out of his relationship with the writer and Vice Vera.
The ending of the book is unexpected and I'm not really sure how I feel about it, but I suppose a simplistic ending for a simplistic storyline fits the book. One thing that really bugged the life out of me was the writer, not him but the fact that we don't find out his name. There is so much more I would still of liked to know about Karl and the writer but I guess the beauty of it is leaving it up to the imagination.
Overall a fantastic novel that needs to go on everybody's MUST read list.
Some of my favourite quotes:
"It's a self-generated, self-inflicted addiction, the cure of which only you can provide. The cure is called hope."
"However, there is one benefit of old age that I should mention, one cause for permanent celebration, one distinct advantage. You aren't a teenager anymore, and never will be so tediously afflicted again."
"I'm not good at instant reactions to anything. I need time to take in what I've experienced before I can say anything intelligent."
"Perhaps because such an admission reveals your deepest and most vulnerable self. The self we all fear someone will injure or hurt or destroy."
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous book, a book I genuinely loved,
I've been finding it difficult to put into words why exactly I loved Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers so much. There's just something about it that just completely took me in and stole my heart. Dying to Know You is so beautifully written and left me thinking for ages after I'd read that final page. It's very sweet and emotional and I enjoyed every minute of the time I spent reading this book.
This is the story of Karl, a quiet but thoughtful 17 year old who is madly in love with 16 year old Fiorella. Fiorella likes Karl, but she has concerns that he doesn't express his emotions and feelings to her and would like Karl to write down his answers to a series of questions about himself and what he thinks about love and other things.
This terrifies Karl as he suffers from dyslexia and has difficulties putting his words into writing. So, Karl asks an elderly writer in the neighbourhood to help Karl put his thoughts into writing. And what follows is a very unexpected but utterly lovely story of friendship between Karl and the unnamed writer.
Honestly, this book was just so sweetly written. I found it very odd to begin with that Dying to Know You's narrator is the ageing writer. He tells this story with little anecdotes of how old age has affected him and his perspective is that of a person towards the end of his life with Karl as this breath of fresh air that gives the older man hope, especially after the recent death of his wife. Such a mismatched pair, Karl and this man, but theirs is a friendship that I felt deeply about, almost to my surprise.
And I do so love Karl. He changes quite a bit over the course of the novel. At first, very unsure of himself and not thinking highly of himself due to the limitations of his dyslexia. I found it interesting, this focus on communication in written form, when there so many ways to communicate. But as Karl and the writer spend time together, discussing all manner of topics including love, Karl begins to come out of his shell a bit, he gains confidence in himself and his abilities and is able to express himself in a very different way.
Much of the book is the dialogue between Karl and the older man and the writing is very simplistic, there's no added flowery bits of narration. It's very much a simple account of their conversations, but I think it's beautiful in its very pared down way.
Gorgeous book, possibly not a book for everyone, with it's slow pace and the book's emphasis on this gentle affection for two people. But a book I genuinely loved.
4.0 out of 5 stars Do not be deceived by this 'simple' story,
Although DYING TO KNOW YOU is meant for young adults, I think a reader of any age would be able to relate to this book in one way or other. The story is simple - a teenage boy is in love with a girl called Fiorella; in order to try and win her heart, she has asked him to write down his answers to her questions, so that she can learn more about him. Unknowingly, this task for Karl is extremely difficult due to his dyslexia. So, he enlists the help of her favourite author. DYING TO KNOW YOU is then the story of what happens as Karl and the author meet, to get his answers onto paper.
Despite the simplistic storyline, Chambers has written a novel which actually encompasses some big ideas/ themes. Perhaps the most obvious is how we find our own voice, how we express ourselves. There is also the undercurrent of grief - both Karl and the author have lost loved ones; tentatively, together they begin to explore how this has affected them. Relationships also play a huge part within this book. There is the obvious relationship between Karl and Fiorella, but there is also the relationship between Karl and the author - one with a big age gap - as well as mother and son relationships; what brings people together and what pushes them apart.
DYING TO KNOW YOU is a fantastic book. Do not be deceived by the supposedly simplistic story - there are many layers to this novel and Chambers has portrayed them all brilliantly.
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars. Excellent storytelling for young adults.,
Thought it would be more 'Cyrano de Bergerac' but liked the way it veered away from that quickly and became quite a deep study of an old and young man both struggling with loss and identity. Really liked the narrator, the old writer healing out the young Karl with letters to his girlfriend and thought Karl was very well-written, if sometimes more wordy and emotional than if have expected from an 18-year-old man! There's me making judgements.
Enjoyed this a lot.
5.0 out of 5 stars Dying To Know You,
This book is a little gem! The title, is, I think, unfortunate suggesting a sad story rather than a story I found quite uplifting. Apparently written with teenagers in mind; I'm quite senior, and wished I knew a teenager to give my copy to! Rather in the way the book The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night crossed age barriers. A coming of age if you like with believable situations and mostly admirable characters involved. A lovely pace to it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Dying To Know You.,
This review is from: Dying to Know You (Kindle Edition)
It is Sunday evening. I began to read this on Friday, and I must have finished it in about 6 hours (excluding breaks). I loved this book so much that I felt compelled to write a review of it so that others know how good it is. From the other reviews of this novel I can tell that I am not alone. There is as yet not a single negative review, which is as it should be.
I would love for everyone to read this book. It is rather like one of my mum's favourite films, Chocolat, in which (my mum's words) "not a lot happens, but it's very pretty and a delight to watch" (I've never seen it, so can't verify that).
I won't tell you the plot as some of the other reviewers have already done that, but I will say that I thoroughly adored this novel. It tells a moving and emotional story of self discovery, in a writing style which is simply exquisite. It was a delight to read, and I was moved almost to tears at a number of points.
I am at a slight loss as to what to read next, as I simply don't feel that anything I own will live up to it.
I have two points to make, however. This novel discusses depresssion and describes suicidal thoughts (and a near attempt) in great detail, please take care if you feel this would trigger you. And I have to express confusion at the title, as from what I can see it bears no relevance to the content of the novel.
All in all, this is a nigh on perfect book, which I will recommend to my friends tomorrow, and am anxiously hoping for a sequel to.
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read,
This review is from: Dying to Know You (Paperback)
An excellent read and well written book. It reads so easily and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading.
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Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers (Paperback - 2 May 2013)