Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
Summer lovin' (sorry, had to)
on 24 March 2017
I'll be honest, I got this because me and my best friend heard about "the peach scene" and wanted to read it to see what happens for ourselves. Not disappointed, 9/10 for the peaches, now onto the actual review:
I'd say Call Me By Your Name is a book of longing. It starts slower than you might expect, taking you day by day in Elio's skin as he pines for Oliver, who is staying with his family for 6 weeks, and where that pining eventually gets him, and once it does it goes all too fast. It might cover two of the four chapters of their story, but you dread it coming to an end and want to cling on to what they, and you, have now. Soon, it shows you just how little 6 weeks is in the great big scheme of life, but how it can affect you forever and really liked that pacing, it's almost hard to live with because it's too real, how the aching seems to go so much slower than the soaring.
A lot of books put you in a single character's mind and do it well, but not many do it as well as Aciman has done here, I'm actually of an age with Oliver but I felt 17 all over again seeing inside Elio's mind, feeling that massive love that you're convinced will kill you if you don't indulge it and swaying between playing it cool and being a huge, awkward mess because you're trying too hard. I don't think that is something that's easy to capture on a page and get it right, it's a feeling that people will rather resonate with because they've felt the same, or teach someone who hasn't been through it just how all-consuming and passionate it feels.
The setting is a character all of it's own, 1983 Italy is there and it's real, I can imagine some people wouldn't like that amount of detail and feel it detracts from the point but that's a lot how thinking goes so I believe it's a great literary device, some small tangents that pick up all the senses that you can, sure it might take a few lines instead of actually experiencing it for yourself but it's much better than the writing being flat with no sense of the world the characters are living in. You really have to give it a read if you're looking for a sense of romance, because it's not just between these young men but all around them.
All in all, I loved this and, sure, there were some parts that weren't perfect; vis-a-vis being used three times on the same page (whoops?), how most of the characters with dialogue are incredibly smart and well spoken and never fumble (we do see Elio do this, but otherwise he's so clever some of the literary talk went right over my head), that Oliver is somehow going to be a professor at a huge university at 24, and an eyebrow raising moment in a bathroom in Rome. None of that detracts from how this book made me put it down for a week before I finished it because I did not want it to end, which I think is the whole point of the boys' journey.