The Neapolitan novels were recommended to me by people I hold dearly. I purchased the Dutch version of My Brilliant Friend on my Kindle and kept reading and reading, but I couldn’t get into the story. You know the magic that happens when you get sucked into a novel and really do suffer from a ‘book hangover’ when you finish it? I didn’t feel it.
The whole fuss about not knowing who this wonderful author; Elena Ferrante is, was magnetising for me. I needed to read the book of this person everybody was praising without even knowing who she (or he) was. Elena Ferrante wants people to appreciate the writing and the story, not just read a new book from a hot author, and that I admire a lot!
I was so disappointed when I came to terms with the fact I didn’t get my groove on while reading about Elena and her brilliant friend Lila in this first book. It could have something to do with the Dutch translation which is something i’m not fond of in general. I prefer English most of the time because I find emotions are so much more real, written in this language.
Like I said, My Brilliant Friend is about Elena and her best friend Lila. They grow up in a 1950’s Napels. They are very poor, and girls are supposed to work instead of learn. Elena gets really jealous of Lila when she realises Lila is above average smart. That’s why it’s a relief that Lila isn’t aloud to finish her school by her parents. Now Elena is the smartest girl in class and even gets a scholarship which her parents approve of, which makes her a very lucky girl. Elena and Lila are best friends but there is a lot of rivalry going on. This, the description of a Napels in the 50’s and all the swearing and fighting makes it all extremely raw, which I did like.
I’ll throw the second Neapolitan novel (The Story of a New Name) on my TBR pile, and hope this gets me going! : ) (even Rory Gilmore is recommending the books to Michelle Obama! Check out this funny video here!)
If you want to come up with your own conspiracy theory about this mysterious Elena, I recommend this Bustle article, where they sum up the people who could be her; very entertaining!
Please let me know who you think Elena is, and what you think of the book(s)!
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