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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A Mother’s Love: For One More Day by Mitch Albom

I was (unknowingly) seeking a book that dives into the powerful and complicated mother-son dynamic when my eyes landed on Mitch Albom’s For One More Day sitting idly on the library shelves. Something about the blurb featuring the quote “Every family is a ghost story…” captivated me.

For One More Day explores the story of a mother and a son and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one? This compact book packs a punch with what seemed like honest intentions on reconciling the hurt, love, and power dynamic over the decades within the Benetto family.For One More Day- bookspoils

I breezed through the first half, anticipating a reality-based retelling on mother-son connections, however, I was quickly given a lifetime movie in its place, when I was expecting something to hit as deeply as Motherhood and Emotional Intimacy in Tully 2018. Charles “Chick” Benetto is too frustrating for his own good. Honestly, his mother opening her arms to him after he spits in her face so many times is what makes her a true hero; a mother. She even invented a whole new way to say ILY: “I love you every day!”
She worked her butt off to send him to college to become a mensch and all he does is run off to his daddy at the first glance. She makes the effort time and again to communicate, he brushes her off with an “I’m busy. Maybe next week.” He gives up on fulfilling her dream to see him with a college degree only to make his father happy (which he’ll never be) by chasing the big leagues. F R U S T R A T I N G.

“I met a man once who did a lot of mountain climbing. I asked him which was harder, ascending or descending? He said without a doubt descending, because ascending you were so focused on reaching the top, you avoided mistakes.
“The backside of a mountain is a fight against human nature,” he said. “You have to care as much about yourself on the way down as you did on the way up.”
I could spend a lot of time talking about my life after baseball. But that pretty much says it.”

Speaking on frustration, the father is a piece of garbage. He never provided for them, or paid the basic alimony and living expenses after he up and left, and yet he stills perceives to live the best of both worlds, where he gets to slip in and out of Chick’s highlighted points in life. All he wants is to benefit himself by living vicariously through his son’s baseball career.

“Not surprisingly, my father faded with my athletic career.”

Another point: This also didn’t keep its full promise of delving into the mother-son dynamic when it focuses the majority of the story on unwrapping the mystery. So I cherished those chapters titled “Times My Mother Stood Up for Me” and “Times I Did Not Stand Up for My Mother” that showcase exactly what it is that I seek in this book: the complexity of family interactions and the details that make up our daily lives.For One More Day mother It blows wide open so many truths we hold out to be self-evident when it comes to parents and their kids and the impact they have on each other’s world.

“Sometimes your kids will say the nastiest things, won’t they, Rose? You want to ask, ‘Whose child is this?’”
Rose chuckled.
“But usually, they’re just in some kind of pain. They need to work it out.”
She shot me a look. “Remember, Charley. Sometimes, kids want you to hurt the way they hurt.”
To hurt the way they hurt? Was that what I had done? Had I wanted to see on my mother’s face the rejection I felt from my father? Had my daughter done the same to me?”

This made me sit still till I let it fully sink in. There’s so much truth in the phrase “Sometimes, kids want you to hurt the way they hurt.”

It’s stirring moments like these, simply, the small joys and frictions in life we tend to overlook over the years till they’re gone out of our grasp, that made this book shine over the bad.

Sticking with your family is what makes it a family.”

Get this short but powerful book through my Amazon Affiliate: For One More Day by Mitch Albom. I’ll make a small commission!

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Intimate Truths and Their Quiet Impact in The Storyteller by Eshkol Nevo

In preparation (and excitement) for this newest Nevo release to land in my hands, I reread my favorite story in Three Floors Up that entails the peak of his writing, for me: capturing snapshots of day-to-day life, like, Hani and Eviatar’s domestic tasks and the small moments that speak volumes in your family life. I still get goosebumps when I reread this:

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The set-up of this book introduces basic questions you can find in any interview, but the main character takes this opportunity to plunge headfirst into the truth, which is what I like so dearly about the writing style. This Q&A concept allowed for a lot of freedom, similar to a book of essays or short stories, where if you don’t vibe with a particular question you can move on to the next one. I’d doze off when politics were discussed (like the campaign run), but when the writing would zoom back in to focus on the relationships with his wife and the complicity of raising children, I was all ears.

In particular, I wanted so badly to hear more about Shira and her kind curly-haired nature boy, Nadav. Shira also had such a dynamic history with her father that came crashing down on such a high note of mistrust, and I wanted to live through the resolution, not have it given to me in one line. Same goes for the wife’s final decision regarding their marriage after the event of Noam’s Bat mitzvah that was entirely glossed over, even though all were discussed and build-up throughout the book.

Plus, the story of Iris and her youngest son Nimrod that was my absolute favorite scene in the book. Like. an actual thrill shot through my heart when I read it. Full of memories and nostalgia you’d share around the table with your family, this is what this book felt like. We feel included in any conversation and the inside jokes shared, which is best felt by the interactions between the best friends in the group.

This book was so honest on every part of the character’s life, especially within his marriage, that I low-key had to check if the author was going through a divorce… I kept thinking about his answer at the start of the book about the blurred lines between truth and fiction: if a lie in a book becomes true over time in real life, what happens then?

There’s so much covered over the span of The Storyteller, and I like how I can catch myself thinking about something different each time I think back on it.

More Shira and Nadav!

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