The Book Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is an amazing story about two high school boys trying their hardest to understand what life is supposed to be to a teenaged boy. The book asks many scary questions them and answers them with even scarier realities. Though, through everything, it seems the hardest thing the characters really have to deal with is being 15-18. The idea that only after graduation do they truly have the ability to write their own story, something that I believe they find to be not as true as they originally thought.
Without giving away the ending, it’s important to say that the turn of events in the novel makes it easily applicable to one social group, but many of the other issues of the novel, and the messages that ring true throughout all of them, are universal messages about growing up and being patient with those you love are ones that are important to a teenager and instantly applicable to anyone that age.
Another aspect of the novel that I really enjoyed was Dante’s character as a whole. He is a walking violation of social norms. He’s an unpopular, artistic, intrusive nerd with no mental filter on his thoughts or actions. But every other character in the story has an immense appreciation for everything he is. Dante’s weird nature is beautiful to everyone in the story.
The book as a whole had a great message for what makes a hero in that Ari’s character is constantly questioning and doubting the hero within him. Even after Ari’s actions prove him one, he still doesn’t feel like one. This is an important motif in this story, as I feel it is common among adolescents in our society to downplay their worth. This book shows that everyone can be a hero, everyone’s weirdness is beautiful to someone, and that unconditional love is the greatest and most important gift you could ever give a friend.