Reviews

Die unerklärliche Logik meines Lebens, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

acej8's review against another edition

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5.0

So many passages I could quote that evoke many emotions, pain, anger meloncholy, euphoria, and at times annoyance. Repetitive at several points but made up for by excellent character development, story, and writing.

purrgator1's review against another edition

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5.0

such a beautiful story.

regan's review against another edition

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5.0

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is downright beautiful. Benjamin Alire Sáenz is downright beautiful.

“I have a memory that is almost like a dream: the yellow leaves from Mima’s mulberry tree are floating down from the sky like giant snowflakes. The November sun is shining, the breeze is cool, and the afternoon shadows are dancing with a life that is far beyond my boyhood understanding. Mima is singing something in Spanish. There are more songs living inside her than there are leaves on her tree.”

Benjamin Alire Sáenz knows how to paint a heartfelt and vibrant image in simply-crafted, short, and beautiful sentences. His characters are introspective, his plots are comfortable and steady, and his themes are outstanding. Sáenz’s novel The Inexplicable Logic of My Life has been my favorite of the novels I’ve read this year. In it, our main character Sal faces his last year of high school as changes build up around him, and he’s forced to wonder who he really is. Sal was always sure of his place in the world: with his adoptive gay father and their extensive Mexican-American family, alongside his best friend Samantha, and with his loving grandmother Mima. When his past begins to unexpectedly haunt him, Sal is confronted with questions of identity, faith, and loss.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is in no way a quick-paced, action-packed novel. Instead, it’s a book that I savored, reminding myself to read slower so that I could enjoy it for longer. The plot isn’t full of twists and turns; it is a quiet, graceful, and meandering progression that, at times, reminds me of poetry. The relationships and diversity in this novel are A+, and Sáenz’s characters aren’t only captivating, but they’re startlingly relatable as well. I really think everyone should hop over to Barnes and Noble or their local library to give this novel a try, and if you like it as much as I do, I’d also recommend another of Saenz’s novels (and one of my all-time favorites) Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

Read with: homemade corn tortillas!!! Cake!!!
Read when: you're reaching the bittersweet end of a significant part of your life
Read while: laying on grass that's warm from the sun
Read if: you're ready to really savor something good

wordsandbookss's review against another edition

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5.0

Second re-read

shamfeldt's review against another edition

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3.0

Really bogged down in last third - hard to place primary story. Vincente can’t be that kind/well adjusted about everything. Also, screw Marcos.

molliekemp's review against another edition

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4.0

I disliked this book at first, and felt like I was slogging through it. But then, somewhere along the way, I found myself attached to the characters & their grief. The syntax and flow of the writing is a little stilted to me at first, but I eventually felt like it help really capture the narrator’s essence.

artransvet's review against another edition

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5.0

This book made me ugly cry 5 or 6 times over the past two weeks. I listened to it on audiobook while commuting an hour to and from work. Wow. It was just as good as Aristotle and Dante if not better. Salvador goes through many heartbreaks with his friends as he struggles to define himself for a college admissions essay. His friend, Samantha is going after one bad boy at a time while her mother is drinking and partying her life away. His friend, Feeto is struggling to be a gay teen in a hispanic family that is full of violence and drug abuse. Salvador has his own issues at home with his grandma dying of cancer and his dad being gay. This book touches on these tough issues and the heartache the teens deal with as they process the hardships in their lives. I can't wait to put this book into the hands of students that are trying to sort out their own hardships...because this book reminds us that it's ok for boys to cry. It's necessary for boys and men to cry in order to deal with grief. I think that's a message that all young men need to hear.

kartpoffel's review against another edition

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4.0

I don't know how many times I've cried reading this but it couldn't be counted using my fingers

luciacanoal's review against another edition

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4.0

Esta es una novela de personajes, y vaya personajes tan bonitos, en cierta manera se siente que no tiene trama y que las cosas van pasando sin sentido, pero consiste en eso mismo.
La lógica inexplicable de mi vida va de la realidad de los sentimientos y del duelo, su propio ritmo nos transmite el mensaje de que no podemos buscar el sentido a todos los sucesos que vivimos. Aquí no tenemos introducción, nudo y desenlace, tal y como la vida misma, pero acompañamos al protagonista en una búsqueda personal tan real, sentía cada uno de sus pensamientos como propios. Ojalá haberlo leído de adolescente.

kaje_harper's review against another edition

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4.0

This story gives us Sal, a high school senior who was adopted as a baby by his gay Hispanic dad. He has a loving grandmother, an interesting extended family, and a female best friend Sam. His life has been good, despite the death of his mother when he was three. His dad is a wonderful guy, who has focused on raising a strong son with all the care he could muster. But now things are starting to change.

Salvador's stable life is being rocked by the illness of his grandmother, the looming question of college and his future, with likely separation from Sam, Sam's increasingly difficult relationship with her mom. Some of the stress comes out in Sal's own moments of uncontrolled temper, which further shake his belief in himself.

Sal is trying to figure out who he is, and what he wants, while weathering a string of surprises, a few good, some very bad. He faces insults from peers over being the adopted white boy, not born into the family he loves. And he's wondering more about the mother he doesn't remember, yet is reluctant to do anything that might shake his faith in where he belongs in his dad's family.

This story was well written; Sáenz had a talent for the vivid image and lovely turn of phrase. It truly embodies the idea of creating family out of connections that are not blood, but caring and affection and need and mutual support. The characters are imperfect, (although Sal's dad is pretty special) and the flaws are plausible. There are deaths, and their impact is believable.

For some reason, I didn't deeply connect to Sal the way I did to Ari and Dante. I enjoyed the book a lot, but wasn't blown away by it. But I was engaged in it enough to have a hard time putting it down, and I was rooting for these characters to find their way through to a good ending. This book doesn't have a big simple arc, but is rather a picture of coming of age, over obstacles and experiences and changes that shake Sal's world. I will definitely read more from this author.