Book Review: Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

January 31, 2018

“He came. He left. Nothing else had changed. The world hadn’t changed. Yet nothing would be the same. All that remains is dreammaking and strange remembrance.” – André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name

I don’t even know how to start talking about my love for this book…

You know when you read something and you just never want it to end? Well, that was me with Call Me By Your Name. Now this may seem overdramatic, but GUYS, this book is PERFECTION. Everything about it was just…moving and each word was crafted so carefully that I just melted while reading this. It’s killing me that I haven’t seen the film yet because….DAMN.

The synopsis for CMBYN is as followed:

FROM GOODREADS: Andre Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time.

The film is also up for three Academy Awards so even if you aren’t a reader, then you can go watch the film. From what I’ve heard, it’s bloody brilliant.

Now I’ll be honest when I say that before the movie came out, I had never heard of this book…at all. Then one day after watching the trailer for the 30th time, someone in the comment section mentioned a scene from the book and I had to do a double take. Let’s just say this was me when I found out the film that I had been obsessing over was first a novel:

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So even though I was on a book buying ban…I got it anyways because, you know, I have zero self control…

BEST DECISION I HAVE EVER MADE!

Call Me By Your Name has officially made my Favourite Novel list, Hell it’s number one! This book is funny, awkward, romantic, and the language is just so raw. That is really the only word I can think of at the moment. The book is told from Elio’s point-of-view and having the story told by the younger half of the relationship was such a smart move. I think the younger you are, the more you are inclined to speak your mind and be completely unfiltered and boy did Elio hit the nail on that.

Aciman created characters that were not only fun to read, but felt so real. From the comedy attributes of Mafalda to the innocence of Vimini, they all made the story so much better. Yes, the story centers around Elio and Oliver, but I found myself getting lost in the other characters more and more as the story went on.

“Find Cupid everywhere in Rome because we’d clipped one of his wings and he was forced to fly in circles.” – André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name

Each and every interaction between Oliver and Elio was so well thought out. Each sentence flowed seamlessly and even the way Elio would explain the way Oliver glanced at him made my heart melt. Even though he is only seventeen, Elio’s voice was mature and I loved the way he used his mind. He is a brilliant young man, but what I love most about him was that he listened and payed attention to everything! Having a main character like that is such a treat. As for Oliver, well, he took some time to get used to.

Oliver is quite…confident, but not to the extent where he becomes cocky and irritating. However, his insecurities are also on display in the story and whenever that wall crumbled even a bit, I loved his character even more. He infuriated me sometimes, but that was mostly because it was so clear to me that he wanted Elio, even to just make sure he was feeling alright, but he didn’t and I just…. Let’s just say my frustration was at its PEAK.

“One day he might tell me. I wondered what part I played in the overall happiness package.” – André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name

And don’t even get me started on the setting, because WOAH. The book is set in Northern Italy and every time Aciman describes the landscape, I just got pulled in deeper. Italian is one beautiful language and throughout the novel, there are many instances when the characters are speaking Italian and I definitely butchered the pronunciation, but I am sure it’s just as beautiful as it seems.

My favourite thing about this book is that the romance isn’t traditional and I don’t just mean the age difference, I mean…everything. Yes, it is a secret romance, but the way they talk to each other, the subtle glances, even the simplest of touches all add up to this overbearing feeling of adoration. You can tell that they aren’t just into each other because of the physical aspect but because there is a certain common respect between them. Oliver understands Elio in ways that his family never could. Throughout the novel they run hot and cold, but there is always that phantom feel of longing on a physical and emotion level which just makes this book incredible.

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Something I that was surprised to like in this book was the long speeches from characters. I never really like when dialogue drones on and on, but I couldn’t put it down when it came to this story. My favourite scene like this was from a supporting character and the story he told didn’t exactly relate to the main plot, but I was fascinated. Aciman is a brilliant storyteller in more ways than one and I would read anything he wrote just to experience the way he makes words flow seamlessly.

And for anyone who is a huge history buff like myself then you will appreciate all the historical references throughout. I think without all the history that was incorporated, the story would have been two dimensional.

“We had found the stars, you and I. And this is given once only.” – André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name

Overall, this story is about Elio and his journey as he discovers his sexuality and comes into his own. As the story progresses, you see little changes within Elio but also you see that he had been that way all along and is now just realizing it. And that isn’t solely directed towards his sexuality, but also how he interacts with people and how he sees the world. He thrives from other’s words and really interprets them beautifully. He may be my favourite main character that I have read in a long time.

I give this book 5 stars. I would give it a thousand if I could. If you want to read a book that means something and will make you think, but also just make you laugh and smile, then I suggest you read this one. It is so much more than just a summer romance between two people. There are the aspects of family, trust, desire, history, hurt, and above all else, TRUTH. And that is the type of literature that deserves to be read.

Have you read or seen Call Me By Your Name? Let me know your thoughts!

Happy Reading!

– Haley

 

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