Good morning and welcome back to another review!
Unlike like my last post where I commented on my amazing progress with in my reading resolutions, today . . . I have failed one. AND IT’S NOT EVEN MID JANUARY YET! At least . . . it was when I started writing this review. LE SIGH.
One resolution I had this year was to tell myself that it’s okay to stop reading a book. It’s okay to DNF something, especially if I’m not at all enjoying it. But for some unknown reason . . . I just didn’t put this book down? I just kept going and was determined to finish this. And writing this review, I’m starting to think that maybe this is just another reason I didn’t particularly enjoy this novel – a novel that has a 4.25 average on Goodreads?
The ‘amazing’ novel follows Elio, a seventeen-year-old, and Oliver, a twenty-four-year-old poet who is staying with Elio and his family as a house guest while he studies. And to be honest, when I go back to reflect and what plot actually occurred throughout the two hundred-something draining pages, nothing comes to mind. So, for your convenience, I’ve included the misleading blurb:
Call Me By Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer house guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Rivera. 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 a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Rivera and during the sultry evening in Roman is the one thing they both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.
The psychological manoeuvres 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, any ultimately unforgettable.
UGHHH. The things I would do to forget this absolute piece of word vomit.
It’s really frustrating, I know, but sadly I can’t really write out why I hated (or maybe hate is too harsh) ((JK)) this novel with out spoiling the “love’’ story. So if you do intend to read this novel and want to avoid all the spoils, it might be best to come back to this post at a later date. Alternatively, if you don’t want to pick up CMBYN, READ ON!
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!
First and foremost, I listened to this book on audible, after an amazing recommendation from Sarah, and o boi. All I knew from the blurb was that it was about two boys who fall in love or whatever, and then there’s this consequences and it had great queer rep and that the writing was mint.
I THINK NOT. I found the storyline incredibly dull, far from intriguing, and was uncomfortable the entire time? Why did I keep reading, you may ask? I honestly have no idea. I seriously do not have an answer for you.
This whole audio book was just so god damn cringe to listen to and I had several occasions where I had to pause the audio and just go do something else because it was all too much. I don’t have any triggers or anything of that sort that would make me more ‘uncomfortable’ than the average person. I’ve never heard the word ‘cock’, ‘precome’ and ‘apricock’ so much in my life? And I’ve read a lot of weird books in my days.
The characters seemed so two dimensional, and had absolutely no development at all. In fact, the only characters I really liked didn’t have any main roles. In fact, on of them fucking DIES, and the other is used as a someone Elio literally just uses because he can’t control his hormones.
Before I continue, I just want to say that these are my own opinions, and I know so many people who literally can’t stop freaking raving about this book, and I just happened to read and not enjoy it, and that’s okay!!!!!!!!!!!
Elio does a lot of things that I just couldn’t deal with. It really made me want to burn the damn book. At one point in the novel, he ventures into Oliver’s room and proceeds to jerk off into Oliver’s clothes and bedsheets. Like, what the actual fuck? What possesses you to do such a thing? STAY OUT OF PEOPLE’S ROOM, and don’t wank in their fucking clothes. Isn’t that just something that everyone is taught?
If I found out someone had done that too my things, I would burn my room down and never recover from it.
Remember when I shared the blurb and it never mentions that the love interest was seven years older than him? If I had known that, I definitely wouldn’t have picked this up. I really don’t care if it’s set in the 1980s or if it’s just a fiction novel. It’s not right. Oliver is twenty-four and I feel like he should have known better? My bad. He states multiple times, to Elio, that ‘this isn’t right’ or ‘doesn’t look right’. Like I don’t know Oliver, if you feel like fucking him isn’t right, why do you not follow your instinct and intuition??? And like I don’t know, not have sex with a teenage boy, just my opinion right. I mean if you have to do things to hide it, maybe just don’t do it and save yourself all the extra effort.
By now, you probably just think I’m whining about this and have literally gone through the entire novel to find scenes that annoyed me. And you’re not wrong. I wanted to like this story and every time I was like, ‘ah yes, that beautiful description of Rome really makes this novel worth my time,’ SOMETHING WOULD HAPPEN.
I’m just . . . here are some real lines, real lines that the author decided to add into the novel, and the edit read them and was like yes. NICE.
TW: R*pe. Also this contains a lot of references to the human body.
I got up and reached for one of the peaches, […] and gently bought the fuzzy, blush coloured peach to my groin […] till the parted fruit slid down my cock. […] I finally succeeded in tearing it apart with my cock, […] it’s reddened core reminded me not just of an anus but of a vagina.
So, this goes on for about one and a half pages, and just when thought that Elio deciding to fuck a peach, and INNOCENT PEACH, couldn’t any worse, it does. Again, the language is horrible, and the TW still applies.
[…] I begin to rub myself, thinking of no one and everyone, including the poor peach, which had no idea what was being done to it except that it had to play along and probably in the end took some pleasure in the act as well, till I thought I heard it say to me Fuck me, Elio fuck me harder, and after a moment, Harder, I said! […]
Once he finishes, this is how he describes the peach: […] I let myself hang back, holding the fruit in both hands, grateful that I hadn’t got the sheet dirty with either juice or come. The bruised and damaged peach, like a r*pe victim, lay on its side on my desk, shamed, loyal, aching and confused, struggling not to spill what I’d left inside […]
Holy fucking shit. Who on earth decided to fucking write that? I’m uncomfortable just writing it into this post. It just baffles me. After I came across this scene I had to put it down and didn’t come back to the novel for a few days.
Aside from how disgusting this novel is, or rather the actions of the protagonists, I didn’t find the writing overwhelming or well versed. It was easy to just get lost in my own mind because what ever my brain had to say was almost always more interesting.
I appreciated the constant visits to the local bookshop in Italy, and the endless pages of Italy itself. But nothing else really appealed to me. This wasn’t the coming out story, or the love story even, that I expected, or wanted. I wasn’t comfortable eighty percent of the time, so the fact that I found almost zero percent of it interesting is pretty annoying.
Honestly, it would have been better for me to put this book down. This book was just not for me, and might also just be another case of ‘this is why straight people shouldn’t attempt queer protagonists’.
I do not rate this book. Have you ever read a book that really disappointed you? Or a book that everyone loves that you just can’t stand? Let me know down below!
And if you have read this book, and loved it, let me know, I’d love to discuss it.
Until next time,