My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend

Book One. Childhood, Adolescence

Book - 2012
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A modern masterpiece from one of Italy's most acclaimed authors, this rich, intense, and generous-hearted story gives a meticulous portrait of two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship
Publisher: New York : Europa Editions, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781609450786
Branch Call Number: FIC Ferr
Characteristics: 331 p. ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Goldstein, Ann 1949-


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Chapel_Hill_ShannonB Dec 15, 2015

A novel deserving of the recent hype. An exceptional book about life and friendship, set in the slums of 1950s Naples, where families have lived for generations and rarely leave the confines of the neighborhood. This is a rich, absorbing, and satisfying read that effortlessly captures a particula... Read More »

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Aug 10, 2018

I’ve given up trying to finish this book. I had high expectations due to all the positive reviews but I get so confused with all the characters that I’m never entirely sure who’s who. Usually I love the book club selections but not this time.

Feb 10, 2018

Lila and Elena are elementary school friends in a rough Naples neighborhood just after WWII. Elena is a good girl; does as she’s told and makes high marks in school. Lila is a bit darker. She dares to disobey and even disrespect, and worries not a whit about the repercussions. She takes on bullies and befriends boys with unsavory intentions. Elena idolizes her. Both girls are smart and hungry for education, doubly unfortunate in an era and area with little to offer ambitious girls (at least those with ambitions other than marrying a step up). Elena is championed by a teacher, who insists to her parents that she be allowed to continue school. Lila’s family circumstances, and the lack of a teacher willing to go to bat for her, does not go on past elementary school, but she teaches herself Latin, Greek, and literature, and fans Elena’s intellectual ambitions with her own curiosity and determination and insights. The divergence in the paths laid out for the two girls is profound. Ferrante’s writing is intimate and unembellished; a joy to experience.

Aug 12, 2016

Took me into a world I am not familiar with, which I like. Complex characters. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

Jul 29, 2016

There are many qualities about this particular book, but being fast read is not one of them. I wasn't moved by characters or the story even though they were developed nicely as well as time period. It feels like one very long narration, retelling of events from the third person point of view. Expressed emotions and translation were not even close to Ellena Ferrante's The days of Abandonment. Maybe I just expected too much so book didn't live up to it's hype....Would I dive into the second book right away? No, but at some point I will come back....

Jul 09, 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked the complex nature of Elena and Lila's relationship, even if I didn't understand the attraction at times. Friendship is complicated.
The community surrounding these two friends is lively and volatile. The European feel of a community comes through with the gossip, the leaning out the windows, the knowing of everyone's business. It was delightful and entertaining.
From the first pages, one knows that one has to be invested in the entire series to go the full circle that the first chapter reveals. This book takes us up to when the girls are 16.

Believe the hype, y'all. Ferrante captures a world so vividly and effortlessly that 1950s Naples feels familiar, no matter where you grew up. This is largely because of her deep understanding of childhood friendship, of feelings that fluctuate from minute to minute yet, at their core, stay forever unchanged. Plus, the last sentence. (And don't read ahead - it won't mean anything unless you've read the whole book.)

Feb 06, 2016

I, too, am finding it a difficult read. Rambles at times, brings the word "flight of ideas" strongly to mind; not sure where she's headed at any point, same place she seemed to be heading or shot off in an entirely different direction? Lost my place more than once as to time frame involved; in other words; I don't get it! (Yet)

Chapel_Hill_ShannonB Dec 15, 2015

A novel deserving of the recent hype. An exceptional book about life and friendship, set in the slums of 1950s Naples, where families have lived for generations and rarely leave the confines of the neighborhood. This is a rich, absorbing, and satisfying read that effortlessly captures a particular time and place. The focus of the novel is two young girls and their relationship, though Ferrante includes a wide cast of interesting characters. While this world is populated with children, and adults, that can often be self-centered, petty, and resentful, you don’t lose feeling for them or want to disengage yourself. Perhaps I was most impressed with this range of honest emotional expression in the younger characters, something I have not often encountered in books about children. Ferrante has me hooked and I can’t wait to read the next three books in the series.

Sep 10, 2015

I must be missing something as I could not get into this book at all and I know all the reviews have been excellent. I may try it again sometime.

madison382 Aug 13, 2015

Really enjoyed this book, can't wait to start the second in the series.

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I feel no nostalgia for our childhood: it was full of violence. Every sort of thing happened, at home and outside, every day, but I don t recall having ever thought that the life we had there was particularly bad. Life was like that, that’s all, we grew up with the duty to make it difficult for others before they made it difficult for us. Of course, I would have liked the nice manners that the teacher and the priest preached, but I felt that those ways were not suited to our neighborhood, even if you were a girl. The women fought among themselves more than the men, they pulled each other’s hair, they hurt each other. To cause pain was a disease.


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