Thursday, May 10, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Title: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
Written by: Benjamin Alire Saenz
Published: March 7, 2017 by Clarion Books

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: The first day of senior year:

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

I read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe a few years ago and I really loved it. I had wanted to read this book last year when it came out but I hadn't gotten around to it but now that I have a Rhode Island library card I can get books from Overdrive, so when I saw the audio available I snagged it and listened. I'm really glad I did because this was a fantastic book and great audio.

This book continued to demonstrate just how beautiful Saenz's writing is. I remember thinking in Aristotle and Dante how I was not surprised that he is a poet because he captured a poetry in his writing, and that was the case in this book as well. This book has a beautiful and lyrical prose that gives the book more drama and power to it. It pulls you in to the characters lives. And just like the last book, that made for the perfect audiobook. The narrator did a great of establishing the emotion and weight to the book.

He also did a great job of establishing the characters. Saenz has written some really amazing and complex characters. The main character in this book is Salvatore or Sal. He's a senior in high school and the fact that college is approaching and forcing him to decide what he wants with his future is forcing him to decide who he is and who he wants to be. Compared to the other characters in the book, Sal should not feel sympathetic. Despite a rough history he has a pretty great life and any moment where he's acting out should seem a bit silly. But Saenz makes Salvi likable and complex. You feel for him and want him to find his way in the world.

But the best characters in this book were the secondary characters. The real heart of the book is Salvi's relationship with his friends and family. I loved Sal's family. His adoptive father was really fantastic. He is one of the most kind and supportive gathers in all of YA, books even. Sal's grandmother was also really great. She was so sweet and loved Sal and his friends so much. So much of what made this book emotional and impactful was his loving family and Sal having to deal with what is happening to them. So many times in YA the family is one of the challenging parts of a teen's life and it was nice and refreshing to read a book where the family was one of the strengths.

When it comes to his friends that is Sam and Feeto. Sam is his best friend and they have a great relationship. I appreciated Sam because she wasn't perfect when she very easily could have been a cliché. Feeto as well could have been a stereotype. The nice guy from the wrong side of the tracks who wants to better himself. But both of them were complex and engaging. I think the best part was seeing them interact really demonstrated how much they care about each other. They are there for each other no matter what and that was completely necessary in this book. All the characters were fantastic and one of the best parts of this book.

As far as the plot, it's kind of a slow character-driven read. It is a comin-of-age story but I don't know that there's really a strong development of the character. It's more just about their relationships and seeing them interact. It's sort of strange because there were some specific plot points that had a clear resolution but it still just sort of felt unresolved. As a plot-driven reader I do kind of wish that there was more of a specific plot. If I hadn't listened to the audiobook (which I sped up to 1.5x) I'm not sure I would have gotten through this book at the same speed.

I definitely enjoyed this book a lot. It had beautiful writing, engaging characters, and great relationships with friends and family. It solidified how good a writer Saenz is and that his prose is beautiful and poetic.

I give The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz 8.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. If you liked Aristotle and Dante and have not yet read this book, I definitely suggest picking it up on your next library run. I really enjoyed it and I think contemporary fans will like it as well, as long as you don't mind a slow character-driven read.

Have you read The Inexplicable Logic of My Life? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I loved Aristotle and Dante, and I keep telling myself that I need to read more of Saenz’s work. I think I’m still on a waiting list for this book. I’ll have to check. I know the list was huge.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!