This book was everywhere. In the library windows, on the internet and everybody was reading it. I was rolling around this lecture until I got it as a gift from a very special friend of mine. And that was the final moment when I had to discover what’s the fuss about Elena Ferrante’s first book. And yes, I now understand the success of this tetralogy.
In Italy of the 50’s, two little girls tie their faith forever
The action takes place in the 50’s, in an outskirt from Naples. Everything was working based on money and violence.
The friendship between Elena and Lila begins in primary classes. It was totally atypical for them, and also for the people around. Everybody sees Lila as a very intelligent, courageous and strong little girl, who has this special and bad force, which scares even Elena.
But all these strengths of Lila impel Elena the desire to be smarter, fearless and to transform herself into a perfect companion for adventures.
The action of the book is built around the 2 girls friendship. Lila is brilliant at school, but her parent’s lack of money make her drop the studies and work for the family’s business, a shoe mini-factory.
On the other hand, Elena’s parents, with the help of teacher Oliviero, accept the financial effort to support their daughter’s studies.
Even if Lila is not at school anymore, they still study together and are in a continuous competition. Elena’s main fear is not to be mediocre, and Lila helps to surpass herself.
A modern masterpiece with a late childhood in the Italian style
The book deserves its fame for the way the author builds the action around the Italian spirit of 50’s. The outskirt of Naples can be o total danger, there are fights between the Italian families and everybody can be once your friend and then your enemy.
And from the dirt-poor neighborhood, the 2 girls learn together how to go throw school, boys, sex, mafia, and injustice caused by simply being women.
I can’t wait to read the other 3 books because yes, I will totally buy them!