Friday, March 30

Dying to Know You: Book Review

Dying to Know You
Aidan Chambers
Amulet Books
April 1st 2012
Young Adult| Contemporary

Official Blurb -
In Dying to Know You, award-winning author Aidan Chambers has created an indelible portrait of a young man discovering his own voice in the world, and has constructed a love story that is as much about the mind as it is the heart.

In this contemporary love story, a teenage boy named Karl enlists a famous writer to help him impress his girlfriend, Fiorella. She has asked him to write her a letter in which he reveals his true self. But Karl isn’t convinced he’s good enough with words, so he tracks down Fiorella’s favorite author and begs him to take up the task. The writer reluctantly assents, on the condition that Karl agree to a series of interviews, so that the letter will be based on an authentic portrait of Karl. The letter, though effective, has unexpected consequences for Karl, Fiorella, and the writer.
The cover and blurb didn't really sell me on this book. I read it a bit out of obligation. I am very glad I did. Looking back, I feel the cover and title aptly reflect the subject matter.

It isn't easy to put into words what I feel about this book. Perhaps, I am much like the characters in this regard. I have provided a list with minimal commentary:
- Karl and "the writer"
They are very easy to relate to and understand.
- The relationship between Karl and "the writer:
The dynamic of the relationship changes through the book. At first they are each using each other for their own gain. By and by, they begin to truly care for the other. I like how "the writer" takes time to listen and prepare the best way to approach Karl. This intense care over communication is all but lost. We would do well to learn from the sage advice of the elderly.
- The misinterpretation by others of that relationship:
Very true to the world we live in these characters assume the worst. Trust and good opinion don't come easy.
- The views "the writer" holds of people:
These varied from the elderly to different types of thinking or people. They are given in a very non-preachy way, very prepossessing and able to hit their target. This could be either because he is much like a grandparent or that he takes an outside approach. He doesn't seem to have any motives by his observation. For more explanation you will have to read the book.
- The book made me think:
I had to pause and consider "the writer's" thoughts several times. It even sparked conversation between myself and my husband. It was nice to get his views on the same things that sparked my mind.

What I didn't like:
- Fiorella
As "the writer" points out Fiorella is opposite of himself. I feel much the same way. She is hard for me to comprehend.

The whole book was surprising. I loved it. Great characters and story as well as food for thought.

Content:
Sexual: mild (off pages)
Violence: mild
Main Character Ages: 75 and 18
Moment Divine:
"In my experience most writers of books you've admired are disappointing as people. How can it be otherwise? If they're any use as authors, the best of them will be in their books."

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