Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman (Book Review)

Publisher: Picador
Page Count
: 250

Call Me By Your Name was my final read in the year 2017 and I fell completely and utterly in love with the book. Originally, I decided to pick it up because I saw the trailer for the movie and had very few expectations for what was to come, I only knew that I liked the concept. To my own surprise I couldn’t help but declare it my absolute favourite book of the entire year (and maybe even longer than that?).

For a lack of better word, I would describe reading Call Me By Your Name an experience. The writing is extremely lyrical and raw, so much so that I felt like I was intruding on someone’s most private thoughts but at the same time it was impossible to put down. It was truly such an intimate affair that I fear I won’t do the book justice with my review, because I am not sure I will find all the right words, but I will try.

17-year-old Elio is a fantastic narrator. Sounding much more mature than his age would suggest and then again just like the boy he still is, he is not afraid to sometimes contradict himself in what he says and feels. All that makes it easy to follow him as he figures out his romantic life and sexuality.

“It would never have entered my mind because I was still under the illusion that, barring what I’d read in books, inferred from rumors, and overheard in bawdy talk all over, no one my age had ever wanted to be both man and woman-with men and women.”

It was thrilling but also a pain to watch him circle Oliver. Both romantic infatuation and sexual obsession radiated off Elio and that made the story over the course of its four parts beautiful and awful, intimate and sad, relatable and then again going that one step too far.

All I wanted for Elio and Oliver was to openly be able to show their feelings, but aside from the age difference, the 80s weren’t the kindest years for people to come out. I was rooting for them the entire time, but you always know from the get go that it is a bittersweet kind of story. Still, it was beautiful to read how they got closer and their relationship develops and builds up.

“I want to know your body, I want to know how you feel, I want to know you, and through you, me.”

If I had to pick one part of the book that bothered me, it would be that despite me loving the intimacy and palpable chemistry, I just simultaneously felt like I didn’t need to know every single detail of Elio’s deepest and innermost sexual fantasies and thoughts. For example, the infamous peach scene wasn’t badly written, but it was something that I, personally, didn’t need.

Aside from that, I adored basically the whole thing! I loved all the relationships, platonic, romantic and the ones that crossed borders. I loved how it is mentioned several times that Elio is an avid reader.

“This is my spot. All mine. I come here to read. I can’t tell you the number of books I’ve read here.”
“Do you like being alone?” he asked.
“No. No one likes being alone. But I’ve learned how to live with it.”

I loved how complex Elio’s relationship with his parents was presented. How they had very few rules and basically left him to his own devices but also really cared for him and where there when it counted.

I loved how the book made me feel like being in the Italian countryside during summer (during the actual middle of winter for me), without ever telling us where exactly we even were. That mystery about the location weirdly just added to the realness of it all, while I simultaneously just appreciated the European setting in general.

I have so many thoughts and emotions just thinking about this book, but aside from struggling to express them, I also don’t want to spoil the book for you entirely. I just hope that this little review gave you a nudge towards picking Call Me By Your Name up for yourself! I can only recommend it.

P.S.: I’d recommend listening to “Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens (from the soundtrack) while reading! It gives you the perfect atmosphere.

Fazit: 5/5 stars! An instant classic and addition to my all-time-favorites-list!

Have you read Call Me By Your Name? Watched the movie? Do you want to?

38 thoughts on “Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman (Book Review)

  1. Well, Kat, you did a pretty amazing job at convincing me to read this book, haha. I don’t really think it would be for me, though, as you mentioned it to me before, with the whole sexual thoughts and everything? ANYWAY, I am really glad this book made such an impression on you, that was a fantastic review ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha I was following along with your Goodreads updates and tweets about this one so I was waiting for this review! You’ve got me so excited to read it. My friend keeps begging me to see the movie but I’m determined to read it first. It’s summer here so I might get on it soon. Loved this review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was so freaking in love with this book! I hear it’s better to read the book before watching the movie, even though both are fantastic in their own ways. I haven’t seen it myself yet, but all the scenes and trailers and reviews are VERY promising.

      Like

  3. I didn’t actually know this was a book- I saw the trailer and thought it was just a movie. Now I definitely want to read it- your review makes it sound really beautiful and with wonderfully drawn characters. Even if it does overshare thoughts (I’m not big on when books do that either) it sounds like there wasn’t anything about it that fundamentally detracted from the book. Stunning review!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so not the kind of books I usually even look, that’s why I love you 😀 Your fabulous review makes it sound as if you just can’t miss this opportunity to dive deep into emotions and a forbidden relationship that’s bound to make you feel! I love that you’re able to give it 5 stars despite the oversharing! I’d probably have the same feeling as you about it, but you manage to still enjoy it so much, your passion is contagious!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I marked all the scenes that really bothered me with red sticky notes and quotes and passages I liked with other colors. Overall, I only had 4 red stickers in the entire book and in the end, I didn’t really care? I mean, I’d rather not have those scenes, but in the scheme of things, it is such a heartbreaking and raw story. It’s as if you found someone’s diary and you know you shouldn’t read it but at the same time you cannot keep your hands of it, you know?
      Glad my passion caught on ❤ ❤ ❤

      Like

  5. Love your review! I watched the film last night and now I’m obsessed. The book is already ordered and on its way! You’ve somehow made me even more excited for it to arrive. I can’t wait to get started:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow, that means your expectations are sky high! I truly hope the book holds up.
      I do think that both have their faults here and their, but in the overall scheme of things I could overlook them. I touched upon some things in the review, for example Elio’s very detailed sexual fantasies that I absolutely did not care for, but overall, this book was magnificent. I hope it will bring you as much joy reading as it did me! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my, I’m reading it right now. One thing I can definitely say I agree on is that the book also came across to me as very human, raw and vulnerable. I definitely got the feeling of intruding on his thoughts- it got me in this weird melancholic vibe… It’s weird because I find myself not being able to read too much of it at once but also wanting to finish it to see what happens (I’m about one third into the book).
    Definitely agree on the fact that it’s sometimes too detailed:)) I probably came across The Peach Scene already haha :))
    So far, it’s definitely shaping up to be a very good read of mine… We’ll see how we progress!
    Great review ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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