It takes a lot to get a person to buy a book. I have been hearing about Elena Ferrante’s series of books about two friends in Naples for years, but didn’t buy one until I was browsing through a bookstore at the airport. Now I’ll buy the rest.
There are long lists of carefully worded reviews praising Ferrante’s novels, but the whole point of reading this novel was that it made me relax and enjoy it. I’ll relax while writing this review, too. I can’t phrase her brilliance as a storyteller any better than the dozens of professional reviewers.
There were no false notes, the style was skillful and seamless, the humor pervasive, and the sense of place and time comforting.
Ferrante doesn’t fear revealing the underbellies of her characters. She drops in vague references to the Mafia, the Second World War, and other adult concerns, but the world is seen through pre-teen and teenage eyes where these things are not pressing concerns. It there was ever an example of “show, don’t tell” this book would be it.
As my friends have told me over the course of several years, it is a pleasure to read, and I can’t wait to get the next one. I think the rest will be on Kindle because there are five of them, and where would I put five hard copy books? Enjoy them.