Review: Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

Me before reading the explicit peach scene:

Me after:

But in all seriousness, I wish I would’ve taken the plunge and read this back in 2017 when I was going through the same intense feelings Elio was experiencing. It would’ve made me like this book a lot more. I did come across this quote at the time that made me nearly pick up the book:

“He came. He left. Nothing else had changed. I had not changed. The world hadn’t changed. Yet nothing would be the same. All that remains is dreammaking and strange remembrance.”

I feel like reading this now (thanks to my local library holding a copy), however, when I’m not in that state of mind of almost feverish, obsession with somebody’s existence, it just doesn’t hold the same impact for me. Especially when I came across this oldie but goodie of a video on Youtube that made it hard for a minute thereafter to take the infatuation serious.

All I could hear was “Luuuuu-ke, we’re going to get maaaaaaried” during Elio’s grand proclamations of love.

On a more serious note, I feel like, throughout the book, I was waiting for that moment to hit us as to why exactly Elio fell for Oliver so hard. Was it simply the setting of summer, being seventeen, and having nothing better to do than obsess over every tangible move of their new summer houseguest. Or was it simply that when you start catching feelings you’re already too deep in to go back? Especially when said person is constantly around the corner, never knowing when and where they might appear next, which only adds to the perpetual train of thought circling around them on when you might see them next and what witty thing you might reply in case they end up talking to you… exhausting.

“The thud my heart gave when I saw him unannounced both terrified and thrilled me.”

“Not knowing whether he’d show up at the dinner table was torture. But bearable. Not daring to ask whether he’d be there was the real ordeal. Having my heart jump when I suddenly heard his voice or saw him seated at his seat when I’d almost given up hoping he’d be among us tonight eventually blossomed like a poisoned flower.”

The constant cycle of wanting them gone from your thoughts but never being willing to put an end to it yourself. Man, I don’t know how to bear through the intensity of all that more than once in my lifetime. Or does it never appear that intense the second time around?

I did appreciate how the author captured the “Oh, I’m getting over him any minute now” to then seeing Oliver and instantly forgetting; rinse and repeat. It captures, like he so perfectly worded, the addictive quality of it.

“I knew the feeling wouldn’t last long and that, as with all addicts, it was easy to forswear an addiction immediately after a fix.”

Also, I’m perpetually frightened at the power another person can hold over your state of mind when you’re first in the deep end of it:

“Just a word, a gaze, and I was in heaven.”

All in all, this was a quality trip down memory lane, forever grateful to be out of that state of mine but nonetheless pleased to look at it in hindsight. But the explicitness was sometimes a tad too much for me.

Check it out for yourself with both the book and its movie adaption, and do so with my Amazon Affiliate:

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Review: Exquisite Corpse by Pénélope Bagieu

I read it for the art… and to satisfy my curiosity from a couple of years back regarding this book.Exquisite Corpse 3- bookspoils

Zoe isn’t exactly the intellectual type, which is why she doesn’t recognize world-famous author Thomas Rocher when she stumbles into his apartment…and into his life. It’s also why she doesn’t know that Rocher is supposed to be dead. Turns out, Rocher faked his death years ago to escape his critics, and has been making a killing releasing his new work as “lost manuscripts,” in cahoots with his editor/ex-wife Agathe. Neither of them would have invited a crass party girl like Zoe into their literary conspiracy of two, but now that she’s there anyway. . . . Zoe doesn’t know Balzac from Batman, but she’s going to have to wise up fast… because she’s sitting on the literary scandal of the century!

Exquisite Corpse is the epitome of a graphic novel set to feature gorgeous artwork with essentially no depth to the storyline. We have flat, unmotivated characters whose actions are never explored; it’s somehow a given that it’ll make sense for a complete stranger to let a girl into his apartment to pee simply because she rang his intercom…Exquisite Corpse 6- bookspoils
Manic Pixie Dream Girl to the max. No person, especially a stranger, talks like that. 

Exquisite Corpse perfectly embodies those clichéd French novels all about Oh, Love French sigh that I’ve been warned about. It checks pretty much every mark from the mistreating old boyfriend to the oh-so-romantic new love interest to the out-of-nowhere mature ex-wives to Lolita-esque relationships (literally have way too many examples of this I’ll share below). The warnings weren’t for naught. So it became quite humorous when the novel tried to take itself too seriously.

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This right here illustrates their imbalanced relationship. They don’t view each other as equals, and the writer dude (such a bland character I don’t even recall his name) is beyond patronizing.

The adults are having a conversation while sending the little girl off to bed:

Exquisite Corpse 8- bookspoils BLEH.

Exquisite Corpse 7- bookspoilsThis 22-year-old needs a therapist, not someone twice her age preying on her.

Also: The clear contrast established between her old boyfriend and this writer dude was so forced, and it made all the “good” the writer represented (listening to her, complimenting her, etc.) seem like he was reading from a script or something he read in a magazine. IT’S NOT REAL. The artificial interactions bothered me all too much for a book that’s supposed to be contemporary.

The ridiculously blown-out aspects of this book made it so I could never fully sink into the storyline. At one point I thought we were on the brink of a breakthrough when the main character finally realized what a douche the writer was and ran from him, but their relationship shouldn’t have happened in the first place so there wasn’t a lot of room for positive feelings. But then even that tiny revelation ruined itself at the very end with another lolita-esque relationship. S T O P.

I really wished the main character would’ve gotten some time alone to realize and reflect on what direction she wants her life to head into, instead of turning from one bad relationship to the other. I just felt sorry for this girl who clearly craves belonging, so she’s willing to settle with anybody who can provide even a tiny slice of it. Don’t settle, please.

I’ll end my review on a more positive note by featuring some of my favorite pieces: Exquisite Corpse 5- bookspoilsExquisite Corpse 2- bookspoilsExquisite Corpse !- bookspoilsExquisite Corpse 4- bookspoils

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Review: The Park Bench by Christophe Chabouté

The Park Bench is full of quiet, revealing, and intimate glances into everyday moments, capturing clever little details in the background. Including romantic couples both young and old, gossiping, people watching, and so much more. This silent graphic novel speaks volumes.

Marketing his English-language debut, The Park Bench is Chabouté’s beautiful and acclaimed story of a park bench and the lives it witnesses. At once intimate and universal, it is one of the most moving books you could hope to come across.
From its creation to its witness to the fresh ardor of lovers, the drudgery of businessmen, the various hopes of the many who enter its orbit, the park bench weathers all seasons. Strangers meet at it for the first time. Paramours carve their initials into it. Old friends sit and chat upon it for hours. Others ignore the bench, or (attempt to) sleep on it at night, or simply anchor themselves on it and absorb the ebb and flow of the area and its people.

I’ve had my eyes on this particular graphic novel for ages, so when it finally arrived in the mail I took my sweet time perusing the book. Letting the story sit with me for a while was certainly a wise way to go about Chabouté’s work. Though, I do have to say that for that second half I couldn’t help but read through it in a whirlwind. For anyone who loves to be deeply involved in their own thoughts, The Park Bench (both the book and the object) is a must.

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The above is a prime example of tiny details coming together to create a bigger picture.

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the park bench 5-- bookspoilsNo words need to describe how the above page is utterly heartbreaking.the park bench 6-- bookspoils

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Publication Date: July 6th, 2017

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