Honest Book Review: Call Me By Your Name

Friday, 23 February 2018

call me by your name book cover

After seeing Tanya Burr's Instagram post about how much she loved reading Italian LGBT novel Call Me By Your Name, I decided to add it to my shopping cart.

My favourite film of all time (Blue is the Warmest Colour) is a gay coming of age love story set in France, so I assumed a similar storyline would appeal. There's something about LGBT romance stories at the moment that seems to resonate with me. I like that the narrative focuses on an undeniable connection between the two characters compared to the cheesy friends-with-benefit romcom malarky. My book arrived the following evening, and I was ready to fall in love...

The synopsis

"It's the summer of 1983, and precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman is spending the days with his family at their 17th-century villa in Lombardy, Italy. He soon meets Oliver, a handsome doctoral student who's working as an intern for Elio's father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of their surroundings, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever."

a pile of books call me by your name

blurb of call me by your name andre aciman

From the offset, I found this book very difficult to get on with. Our main character Elio is recalling his first meeting with love interest Oliver, so everything is very rose-tinted. Maybe I'm a realist but I feel that if you're going to make your reader fall in love with Oliver, you're better off living out that first meeting in real time, warts and all.

After that, the novel quickly becomes an obsession. Multiple pages are spent describing Oliver from across the table/room/pool, and I can't quite shake the feeling that I'm stalking him rather than getting to know him. This style of writing felt obscenely similar to Vladimir Nabokov's writing in Lolita: a seemingly unobtainable love interest, an unhealthy obsession, an unlikeable character. (Elio rudely dismisses a girl who's infatuated with him but has a massive break down if Oliver doesn't say Hi.)

I thoroughly enjoyed Aciman's description of Italy. The ripe fruits, the scorching sun, the refreshing waves. I truly felt like I had escaped to the Mediterranian for an afternoon. However, my feelings on the book were firmly cemented when, after the first hundred pages, similies such as "as pert as an apricot" become commonplace and even goes on to use a phrase I can all but cringe at - apricock. This had become what I hate in any other run of the mill romance: a poor grasp of what it's like to fall in love.


Any books you've not been so keen on lately? What did you think of Call me by your name? I recently unboxed my monthly book subscription box, click here to open it with me!

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  1. This sounds amazing! Defo top of my to read list!

    Ellie xx

    1. Yeah I wasn't so sure, let me know how you get on!! xx


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