The Inexplicable Logic of my Life

This is a beautiful book. Honestly, I could probably rank this as one of the best books I have ever read. It has a lot of heart and soul in it. For me, it is able to maturely discuss a lot of sensitive matters, such as the different kinds of loving, grieving, death, and family.

It followed the growth of Salvador from boyhood to manhood through his thoughts. He was blessed with a wonderful support group – Sam, Fito, Mima, Vicente and Marcos – but not an ordinary life. (Though if I think about it, is there really an ordinary life?) Each of the main characters have their own challenges and it is so easy to warm up to them and cheer them on.

There is so much to pick up from this book that I know when I read it again, I would have another favorite quote depending on what I am going through at that point. But, for now, my favorite would have to be this line:

I finally understood something about life and its inexplicable logic. I’d wanted to be certain of everything, and life was never going to give me any certitude. – Salvador

This book also has Vicente Silva, whom I could say now as one of my favorite characters ever. He, for me, can be likened to Albus Dumbledore or Atticus Finch, particularly in his role in guiding Salvador, Sam and Fito in this inexplicable thing called life.

My dad nodded. “Can I just say one thing, Salvador?” “Sure.” “There’s nothing ordinary about you. Nothing ordinary at all.”

Mima, Salvador's grandmother, was also quite special. It was through her that I learned about the beautiful phrase "Dejate Querer", which loosely translates to "let yourself be loved".

Again, such a beautiful book. Thank you Benjamin Alire Saenz for this gift.

Some other quotes from the book:

On anger –

“Okay, maybe I can get this right. Anger is an emotion. But there’s always something behind anger. Something stronger. You know what that is?” “Is that a trick question?” “It comes from fear, son. That’s where it comes from. All you have to do is figure out what you’re afraid of.”

And one more thing: I didn’t want to admit that I had anger living somewhere inside me. But that anger didn’t make me a “bad boy.” All it did was make me human. There was nothing wrong with getting angry. It was what you did with that anger that mattered. – Salvador

On loving –

“I know you don’t. You don’t think she really loves Sam—but she does. Everybody doesn’t love in the same way, Salvie. And just because she doesn’t love Sam the way you or I would like her to doesn’t mean she doesn’t love her daughter. It’s very difficult being a single mom.” – Vicente

On being one's self –

“I never wanted you to be anything, Sally. I’ve always just wanted you to be you.” – Sam

On living –

When is the right time for anything? Who knows? Living is an art, not a science. – Vicente

“Do you remember what you told me?” “I remember,” she said. “I told you that there were only two things you needed to learn in life. You needed to learn how to forgive. And you needed to learn how to be happy.” – Mima

“I know you sometimes think that people are like books. But our lives don’t have neat logical plots, and we don’t always say beautiful, intelligent things like the characters in a novel. That’s not the way life is. And we’re not like letters—” – Vicente

Highways are nice and paved, and they have signs telling you which way to go. Life isn’t like that at all.

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Secrets of the Universe

The latest book I finished is Benjamin Alire Saenz’ Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.  I bought this book out of curiosity and due to the number of awards in the cover while in provincial fieldwork last December.  But, it was only in my trip to Korea a few weeks back that I found time to read it.  I finished it last week (April 24) during my downtime after participating in my 2nd clean-up dive.

This was too close to home.  I related a lot to Ari’s sentiments throughout the book that I sometimes had to put it down just to re-think his realizations. A lot of truth. A lot of maybes. A lot to think about.

“We all fight our own private wars.”   – Ari

Ari was growing up and faced with a lot of issues.  But more than the secrets of the universe, he discovers and comes to term with himself in the process.

“I don’t know Dante.  Sometimes, I think I’ll never understand myself.  I am not like you.  You know exactly who you are.” – Ari

Angst was throughout the book with love and patience from a friend and his parents as its antidote. It was amazing how his family came together in the end.

“You’re not alone, Ari.  I know it feels that way but you’re not.” – Ari’s mother

Love wins.

“Maybe everyone loves differently.  Maybe that’s all that matters” – Ari

I would probably read this book a second time.