Hello book lovers! I am posting this review over 48 hours after finishing the book and I AM STILL NOT OKAY!! I finally gave in to buying this book on World Book Day, because I obviously had to celebrate it that way, and boy do I not know how it took me so long to pick it up! I first heard about Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman when the trailer was released last year as it was being shown in film festivals. It caught my attention right away with its artsy and travel vibes so once I found out that it was originally a book, I was ecstatic.
Book Blurb: “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’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them. What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and during a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.
The psychological maneuvers that accompany attraction have seldom been more shrewdly captured than in André Aciman’s frank, unsentimental, heartrending elegy to human passion. Call Me by Your Name is clear-eyed, bare-knuckled, and ultimately unforgettable.” Goodreads
I am proud to say that this is my first ever book in which I have NOTHING negative to say about it so be prepared for this review to be just me raving about it because I can’t stop telling people about it and already have a whole pile of photos lined up for my bookstagram (the power of a beautiful book with an actual beautiful movie cover).
1. The writing style.
Andre Aciman, I am already ready to read more of your books now and I am fighting myself to not run to a bookstore and find as many as I can. I have honestly never read a book like this one – the fluidity left me speechless and unable to put the book down. I never read a book as quick as I did this one but I somehow managed to get through all of my school work a day early just so I could put aside a day to run through it (and boy was it worth it). His choice of language and structure for the dialogue, both inner and outer, was so natural and beautiful compared to most books that are published these days, which says something seeing as this was only released in 2007. I could go on and on about it but hopefully my next seven tips will show it to you enough.
2. Beautiful and strong imagery.
The majority of the book takes place in Italy during the summer. Now this book could have easily focused on the stereotypical aspects and characteristics of Italy but no, Aciman went in-depth with the true beauty of the country and showed his familiarity with all of it. Right from the first page, you are pulled into this beautiful story with visuals that lay themselves out naturally as you go from page to page, feeling as if you are there with the action and enjoying the sunshine that they spend so much time in. I genuinely cannot remember the last time that I felt this strongly about a book in such a way which was an incredible experience and one that I hope every reader experiences.
3. The freedom with the topic.
The two main characters experience a gay relationship – I use the word experience because they both go about having relationships with women before, during, and after – which is shown in a beautiful and unique way itself. But it also deals with a seven-year age gap which didn’t occur to me much while reading it but I have to admit that it was quite odd seeing it in the movie trailer, but hey, it’s unlike anything else which is great. Now in terms of people acknowledging the relationship, the main character, Elio’s parents (specifically the dad) are so accepting and encouraging of it. I was worried the entire time that it would twist into an awful fight but no, once again Aciman surprised me. There was so much love and support when the relationship was finally discussed between the father and son – it made my heart full and feel the urge for more LGBT+ books to be the same.
4. Supportive family.
This kind of goes off of point number three but focuses more on the relationship that the family as a whole had, as well as welcoming Oliver. There was so much love and acceptance within the characters that just radiated off of the page, not even needing to be properly shown nor explained. By the end of the book, I just wanted to hug each character and thank them for showing such a beautiful family that lived such a life.
5. Natural and vivid chemistry.
This goes to say with every single character shown in this book. With just the name and a bit of dialogue, each one is illustrated in your mind and it gave me the effect as if I was watching it all happen right before my eyes. There weren’t any moments where I thought to myself, “Now that was rough dialogue,” or “That’s not realistic, is it?” Which as a creative writing student, it is such a rare thing which just makes me love this author even more. You just can’t help but love all of them by the end of it and feel like you are leaving behind your own vacation family when you close the book one last time.
6. Structure of the parts.
This book is split into four parts with no chapters. At first this drove me absolutely crazy because I had to keep checking how many pages I had left of the part but it ended up growing on me and now I wish more books used this style. By using the parts, it takes you through different periods of their relationship, as well as locations. This just made each change so much stronger and more impactful while still keeping you up with the story and not getting confused by anything.
7. The peaceful pace.
With the book taking place over the summer break, it incorporates that relaxful feeling with the pace. Each moment of dialogue, travel, and love is so slow yet refreshing and pleasant to read. And that is me saying that after flying through the book without being able to control myself.
8. The ending.
Don’t even get me started on the ending but let’s just put it this way so I don’t spoil anything: I experienced the weirdest feeling. I felt like I was going to cry and needed to cry but I couldn’t. The characters were okay so I needed to be okay… right? Though I must admit that I still keep getting emotional whenever I think about it.
Overall, in case you haven’t reached this yourself, I think that everyone who loves a good romance novel (but not the cliché ones) and respects artists, in whatever form, needs to read this stunning novel. It is one that I will probably re-read multiple times throughout life and never forget because it holds a story that will impact you and imprint a chunk of itself into your heart. Oh I love it so.
Fun Fact: Supposedly a second movie is being made for this which is so exciting!! Now I need to just finally watch the first one.
Would I recommend it to a friend?: A million times yes, as long as they are interested in what it’s about.
Is it the best book that I have read before in terms of LGBT+ themes?: Definitely!