Review 6-1-16

My Brilliant Friend 
By: Elena Ferrante 

Hey guys, I am going to be reviewing this literary book today which I recently finished, and loved! Again I will have a fantasy/ sci-fi reviews for Friday! But for today I am going to be reviewing this very character driven and immersive literary fiction book set in Naples Italy. 

"A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.

The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila."(Goodreads). 

  • This book is very densely written, with great amounts of detail that do not hinder the read.
    • The dense writing style just means that this book is something that you will need to take at a slower pace.
  • The language and translation from Italian was done very well, I was left feeling satisfied and not at all confused. 
  • Elena (pseudo-name for the author) she is able to capture the dialog and dialects of children and their quirks when they are growing up. 
    • This is something that cannot be done easily, though the jealousy, confusion, and change are seen everyday in life, Elena Ferrante is able to capture the childish essence of each emotion within the characters.
  • These characters are the sole driving force for the novel!
    • These characters are witty, cruel, resilient, and realistic.
  • Relationships between the two main characters  was not a healthy one, however given their situation I am able to see why their relations are as they are. 
  • Elena Greca, and Lila are some of the best characters I have seen in literature. That is not to say that I like them, however they are vindictive and cruel as every child can be. 
  • These characters also show an incredible amount of growth through this 300 page novel. 
    • While this book covers the friends childhood through Lila's betrothal, however I do not feel that we are missing any aspect of their childhood!
General Thoughts: 
  • I loved this book! 
  • The characters were brought to life from the page in front of my eyes. 
    • I love character growth and development in books even if I do not care for the characters, which this book surely offers. However by the end of the novel I really am falling for Lila and Elena. 
  • The setting of this novel springs off the page! Small town Naples is so vividly portrayed, and relatable to myself though I have never been to Italy. Being from a small town I can relate to knowing everyone and having strong emotions attached to certain families. 
  • The quality of construction for the Europa editions novel is amazing! The paper is high quality and the spine is tightly bound and will not break while you are reading, which is great!
Rating: 4/5 
I am only not giving this book a 5 stars because I am craving answers, and more characterization from these characters :) 

Happy Reading 
Let me know if you guys are going to be picking this up, or if you love character driven novels just as much as a great plot driven novel?


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