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.
Rating: 2.5 stars
I know that someone is going to stop listening to my opinions after this because it seems that the masses love this book but… oh my god this was not for me. Let me just go ahead and remind everyone now that we all read things differently so… don’t take my words to heart, please.
I never intended to read this story. I know that it’s highly rated and a lot of people love it, but I’ve heard enough opinions on it from people I trust to know that it wasn’t going to be for me. I love reading LGBTQ+ books, but having this representation in a story doesn’t automatically make it up my alley. Does that sense? Being as I’m not super huge on romance anyways, there usually has to be a lot more to a story for me to enjoy it. So, I didn’t plan to pick this up but… *sigh* it was gifted to me for Christmas. And when someone gives me a book I pretty much feel like I have to read it, so read it I did.
And now I’m scarred.
I think that the writing in this book is so seriously beautiful. That’s honestly the only reason for the rating I’m giving it. André Aciman can string words along into an extraordinary sentence like no other. There were several times that I got caught up in the writing, but the plot always pulled away from it for me. It’s like… great prose that lacks a great plot. At least, in my opinion. I was expecting a beautiful m/m love story, and though you do essentially get that, it’s all very choppy and frustrating. I know that the book is supposed to be Elio’s recollection of what happened that summer so readers aren’t meant to get the whole story, but it felt like I was missing too much of it. There is very little building of Oliver’s character beyond Elio’s attraction to him and OK, maybe that’s the whole idea, but it just didn’t work for me.
I think that if this had been a more comprehensive story, I’d have loved it. Or at the very least, I’d have liked it more. Elio and Oliver have an interesting relationship and I honestly just love the way that Aciman writes, so I’d have taken the whole story differently, I think, had it not had so many missing parts. And, once again, I get that the idea is that Elio only see’s Oliver through his lust and attraction and so therefore readers really can’t get character development for Oliver, but just because that was the intent doesn’t mean that I have to be OK with it… ya know?
I’m also never, ever, ever going be able to eat another peach again. Seriously… ever. I’m perfectly fine with a normal amount of sexual stuff going down but I’m personally not big on stories that go further into detail, so this really messed me up. I feel like someone really should have warned me.
Overall, not a good book for me personally. I know that a lot of readers adore it, and from a writing standpoint, I get it. But from the rest… not so much.