For a star rating and full review please visit InD'tale magazine online, July/Aug 2017 issue. http://indtale.com/reviews/young-adult/thief
"I loved Lila. I wanted her to last. But I wanted it to be I who made her last. I thought it was my task. I was convinced that she herself, as a girl, had assigned it to me." (98%)
Honestly, I don't even know what to think. This final book in the series was the one that to me, contained the wealth of Elena Ferrante's wisdom, and it is also the book that was quite difficult to plow through. Sometimes Ms. Ferrante fills us with so many details that I find inconsequential that it slows down the story nearly to a halt.
Nonetheless, this book is powerful. Seeing Lenù and Lila go through a series of violent and terrible life events hits you in the gut. But Ms. Ferrante's masterful weaving pulls everything back together again, and you are brought to the beginning of the first book right as you finish the fourth.
But what is, as usual, the best part of these novels is the characterization. I know I've said this before in my review of the other three novels, but I truly have never read a more raw, honest and gripping tale of a friendship between two women. It's not black and white; it's not simplistic, it's messy and tangled in a web of loyalty and guilty desire for independence not only of each other but also their circumstance.
In the end, though, I feel numb. I have so many questions.
Like, what really happened to Tina? Is she alive? Is she dead? What happened to Lila? Are she and Lenù never going to see each other again?
That's the thing about these novels. Though the novel (and by consequence the series) ends on a bittersweet note, you don't end up with a happy, hopeful glow. All you will have left is this overwhelming melancholy and a fierce wish that things were different in their world and ours.
After I finished reading
I don't know how to rate this just yet or even what to write for my review. I have been reading this book nonstop for 48 hours. I need a mental break to pick up my soul from the ground.
"The solitude of women’s minds is regrettable, I said to myself, it’s a waste to be separated from each other, without procedures, without tradition."
TW: This book contains SEXUAL ASSAULT, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
I need time for my heart and my mind to recover. And to think this isn't the last book of the series. Elena Ferrante is a master storyteller. How is it that she can truly capture the good, the bad, the despicable, the intimacy of female friendships? How can she effortlessly capture the impossibility of surviving in a patriarchal society? Her tale and her words have me utterly spellbound and also terrified.
With each passing book, I find myself loving Lila's unbreakable and fragile spirit more. I wish I had her strength, her resolve. But if I had to choose whom I resembled the most, it would have to be Lenù. Succumbing to the pressure of who we need to be, trying to leave our hometown before it swallows us whole and erases our dreams, and makes us forget who we are.
What will happen to Lila? What will happen to Lenù? I'm scared of finding out.
"[...] she was explaining to me that I had won nothing, that in the world there is nothing to win, that her life was full of varied and foolish adventures as much as mine, and that time simply slipped away without any meaning, and it was good just to see each other every so often to hear the mad sound of the brain of one echo in the mad sound of the brain of the other." (98%)
TW: This book contains SEXUAL ASSAULT, RAPE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
What a rollercoaster. The thing is that these books are so intense and so emotionally exhausting, you end up feeling beside yourself when you finish. On hand you are marveled at the character development, the twists and turns of the plot, on another you are feeling so depressed and hopeless you might need to drown your sorrows into a cup of tea (or bourbon) just to feel like a human again.
This book is intense and so hard to rate. I hated it because of how desolate it made me feel. I also think it's a gripping story that ends with an effin' cliffhanger, again.
The character names are at times similar so you get confused or who is who. There are many nicknames and names to keep track of. It can make for a challenging reading experience, but a worthwhile one.
One thing is for certain, I have never read characters like the ones Ferrante writes about. Yes, they are fucking awful people but you feel for them. You identify with them, you try to reason or justify their faults, you want to believe the best in them. And when they disappoint you it feels like you're being gutted.
I am all about happy endings but I'm seriously wondering if it's even possible that Lenù or Lila will get theirs.
TW: This book contains VIOLENCE and SEXUAL ASSAULT
JFC WHAT A CLIFFHANGER.
My head hurts from reading this, from the feelings it has evoked, from the sadness that clings to me like a second skin because I cannot understand what has happened or why I feel that I'm aboard a train that will crash at any second.
What a strange, heart-wrenching read about what it's like to be a girl immersed in poverty and trying to claw out of it, out of the violent reality and ultimately, perhaps, failing.
The friendship between Lila and Lenù is the best part of this confusing novel. Seeing how well Ms. Ferrante portrays the intricate, overwhelming, consuming, envious and loving reality of girl friendships has earned her a special place in my heart. I have never read a portrayal like this.