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text 2017-11-15 21:13
My Brilliant Friend - 11%
My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante,Ann Goldstein

Children don't know the meaning of yesterday, of the day before yesterday, or even of tomorrow. Everything is This. Now. The street is This, the doorway is This, the stairs are This. This is Momma. This is Poppa. This is the day. This is the night. I was small, and really, my doll knew more than I did. 

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review 2017-07-01 21:51
[REVIEW] My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante,Ann Goldstein

TW: This book contains VIOLENCE and SEXUAL ASSAULT 


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.

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text 2016-10-31 20:09
My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante,Ann Goldstein

I picked this up at a used book sale about a week before the storm over the possible revelation of Ferrante's identity. I am still thinking about whether or not I care who the author "really" is, but the controversy reminded me to read the book. Which is extremely masterful: precise and detailed yet fluid and absorbing. Minutely observed psychology, arresting narrative that kept me reading. 


But for most of the book, even though I couldn't put it down, I kept asking myself whether I loved the book. It's so well crafted, I thought to myself, but is this a book that I'm going to keep thinking about when it's done?


But the final chapters, culminating in the high tensions and dramas of a wedding in their fractured small town, simply blew me away. And two weeks after I finished it, I can say definitively that I have not stopped thinking about it. I love this book, although I love it with a slow burn rather than the rapid flare I associate with a good story.

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review 2016-09-26 02:42
My Brilliant Friend (Neapolitan Novels Book 1) - Elena Ferrante

I picked this up after hearing Hillary Clinton mention it was her current read on the I'm With Her podcast. I was completely enthralled by the beautiful translation of such an intricate portrait of girlhood, young womanhood, and friendship. 

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review 2016-08-06 21:56
Two girls live in Naples and
My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante,Ann Goldstein

2016 UC Book Club Aug. Read

It is so great that the hype for this is well deserved.

And honestly, I really want to re-read (and watch) Gomorrah but the new Byatt arrived today with the Harry Potter play . . .

I don’t really know what more I can add to what people have said about this book, yet, I’m going to try.

The plot of the story is the lives of two girls Lena and Lila, who live in Naples. The story is set in motion though a framing device where Lila’s son discovers her to be missing, and Lena starts to record their friendship.

To be honest, for me, at least, the characters didn’t feel like they were able to walk off the page. The story is absorbing it is a great book, with a nice kicker of a subtle ending. A reader (or even a viewer of television or movie plots) has seen the characters before. Two friends where one seems to fulfill the dreams of the other. In fact, to call the plot familiar would not be wrong.

And yet.

There is an enough difference for the familiarity of the plot to not be a problem. That and the strength of the writing.

Two things stand out. One is the use or influence of fairy tales from the ogre figure to the character type of Cinderella. The Italian Cinderella of Basile that is, the one who dresses like strumpet. The other is the use of doubling. Lena and Lila might be friends, but I am not entirely convinced that they are two separate people. Undoubtedly I am wrong, but there is such a sense of two by two in the novel that even if the characters are simply shadows or parallel it is interesting. For instance, both girls get a bump in regards to their creativity in the same way.

In many ways, it also is about gender, so that’s cool too.

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