I picked up this book after it became well-known thanks to the movie adaptation which received tons of compliments and even an Oscar award. My best friend also love the movie a lot and recommended it as “an Oscar-awarded movie which is not that hard to understand” to me, one of the reasons why I grew interest not in the movie really but in the book instead, since I always love the original version of anything.
I was startled by the intimacy between two main characters at the beginning and wondered if I am able to comprehend the meaning of it to the fullness. As the story goes on, I love how Elio’s feeling towards Oliver changed little by little as he stayed in B. until it reach to an unbearable level and how it was revealed that both of them actually had feelings for each other long time ago but would not be shown until the right time, at the right moment and in the right place. It is not simply a love story, at least for me, since I see in that relationship also desire, sympathy, and other things that goes beyond those all; which enable Elio & Oliver to have that summer as clearly as it just happened yesterday in their mind after several years even when they have been going two different paths of life and more or less become distant to each other. Frankly, I don’t think I understand right and all the reasons why they did not end up together yet, but I know thanks to that they are able to treasure each other and the time being together for a lifetime. How blessed they are to meet each other and build up the relationship between them, which not everyone has a chance in life to do.
André is amazing in telling the story from Elio’s perspective, portrays the whole picture in a 17-year-old boy’s eyes who the first time falling in love that desperately and passionately with excellence. There are many parts in the book describing how Elio was aroused by Oliver and how struggle he was to keep his feeling under an indifferent attitude, being torn apart between his genuine feeling and the barriers grounded around, detailed and real to the point I wonder how the author was able to illustrate those unless he was Elio himself.
Also thanks to the author, Italian Riviera is the definition of paradise to me now and definitely takes a spot in my travelling bucket list. The way he includes Italian words, poems and culture through the book makes me feel like I was actually being there and enjoy the summer with a room in their cliff-side mansion, following Elio & Oliver’s story until the very end, with my own eyes. How amazing it is that you don’t know even a word in Italian but still able to understand what is it about and in a way, it helps me to get a closer look at the life in B. that summer and at other supporting characters in the book as well. Though it is only the very start of spring here in Finland, I was able to skip the time and space to live the best summer ever while reading the book.
Updated: I’ve finally watched the movie after nearly a year and I’ve to say that it truly deserves all the praises and compliments.