Rated of 5
by Priscilla M. (Houston, TX) A Mini-Series in the Making
My Brilliant Friend has all the makings of a TV mini-series. In the first installment of a trilogy, Elena Ferrante skillfully involves the reader in life in a neighborhood in Naples, Italy in the 1950's. The inhabitants are poor and hold, for the most part, menial jobs, but their lives are rich in passions, friendships, divided loyalties,unrequited loves, and unrealized dreams. The main character, Lena, and her best friend and chief competitor, Lila, grow up sharing dolls, dreams, fears, and family complications. The author brings the reader into their lives with a cast of characters that needs a family tree to keep everyone sorted out so that the various feuds and alliances are properly understood. That was probably my chief complaint with the story. I had to constantly refer to said family tree to keep all the alliances clear in my head as I read. This was an engrossing tale, and I wasn't ready to let go of the characters when the story ended.
Rated of 5
by Eileen F. (Ridgefield, WA) Two friends
A great novel, that starts with a phone call from Lila's son to Elena. He wanted to know where his mother was. The story, then follows Lila and Elena through their teens, in a poor neighborhood in Naples. It showcases their desire to learn. It is an emotional ride, with at times some humor. The down side was the multitude of characters, that I had to reference frequently in the front of the book. I am looking forward to reading the future book in the trilogy, because if need to know where Lila is.
Rated of 5
by Cam G. (Murrells Inlet, SC) MY BRILLIANT FRIEND
Elena Ferrante's novel, is a wonderful journey of life in the 1950's in and around the city of Naples, Italy. At that time, for many of the citizenry, it is a life or poverty and need, yet it is also about strong family bonds and friendships. The narrator is Elena Greco, aka Lenu, who recounts her friendship with Lila Cerullo, the shoemaker's daughter. Always mindful of family, they charge into life, as children and beyond with Lila always pushing and Lenu ever holding back. Ferrante's ability to limn out the characters is superb...I felt as though I could recognize them had I met them on the street. While it seemed to bog down at times, Lila's narration kept up my interest. This is the first book in a trilogy so I am looking forward to reading the next!
Rated of 5
by Ilene R. (Northfield, IL) An Italian friendship
This is the story of Elena and Lila. It is a history of their friendship beginning in Naples.I am attracted to stories about friendship but this book didn't hold my attention. It was translated into English so possibly something was lost in translation. The descriptions of Italy were great! I felt like I was actually there! If only I felt the same about the main characters.
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