Quotes Galore : Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Quotes Galore : Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe


Why hello there.

I know this post is like –– hella late –– but she’s here now. Your girl has finally joined in on the hype, despair no more my children.


 aaddtsotu quotes


Kidding, kidding.

I have just finished reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and I must say, that book really is a gold mine for really good quotes. Because when I was finished with that book, it’s quite literally black, blue, yellow, green and orang with highlights. Which is a good thing, and a bad thing. Since it means that I’ll have an abundance of quotes, but can’t include them all lest I want this post to be 1 hour long.

With that said, let us stall no longer and get right into it.





“Okay, so the first rule is: No trying to kiss Ari.”

“Yeah, that’s the first rule.”


Feeling sorry for myself was an art. I think a part of me liked doing that.


So I was the son of a man who had Vietnam living inside him. Yeah, I had all kinds of tragic reasons for feeling sorry for myself. Being fifteen didn’t help. Sometimes I thought that being fifteen was the worst tragedy of all.


I had a rule that it was better to be bored by yourself than to be bored with someone else. I pretty much lived by that rule. Maybe that’s why I didn’t have any friends.



 aaddtsotu quotes



Boys. I watched them. Studied them. In the end, I didn’t find most of the guys that surrounded me very interesting. In fact, I was pretty disgusted.


“Do you think it’s bad—to doubt?”

“No. I think it’s smart.”


I felt alone, but not in a bad way. I really liked being alone. Maybe I liked it too much.




It was better to be alone and miserable. It was better to drown.




I wasn’t wildly popular. How could I be? In order to be wildly popular you had to make people believe that you were fun and interesting. I just wasn’t that much of a con artist.


I looked at him. “I have a theory about why moms are so strict.”

Dante almost smiled. “It’s because they love us, Ari.”

“That’s part of it. The other part of it is that they want us to stay boys forever.”




“Do you always analyze your parents?”

“They analyze us, don’t they?”

“That’s their job, Dante.”




“You were looking for me,” he said.

I looked at him. “In your dream. You were looking for me.”

“I’m always looking for you,” I whispered.


I was good in a fight. So people left me alone. I was mostly invisible. I think I liked it that way. And then Dante came along.



Laughter was another one of life’s mysteries.




Dante became one more mystery in a universe full of mysteries.


As Dante was watching me search the sky through the lens of a telescope, he whispered, “Someday, I’m going to discover all the secrets of the universe.”



 aaddtsotu quotes



“Do you like dogs, Ari?”

“I love dogs.”

“Me too. They don’t have to wear shoes.”


I knew I wasn’t a boy anymore. But I still felt like a boy. Sort of. But there were other things I was starting to feel. Man things, I guess. Man loneliness was much bigger than boy loneliness.



Aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe



So I renamed myself Ari. If I switched the letter, my name was Air. I thought it might be a great thing to be the air. I could be something and nothing at the same time. I could be necessary and also invisible. Everyone would need me and no one would be able to see me.



“I liked the sketch,” I said.


“Because it looks just like my chair.”

“Is that the only reason?”

“It holds something,” I said.



“Tell me,” Dante said.

“It’s sad. It’s sad and it’s lonely.”

“Like you,” he said.



The sky was almost black and then it started hailing. It was so beautiful and scary, I wondered about the science of storms and how sometimes it seemed that a storm wanted to break the world and how the world refused to break.


“Is it hard to love him?”

“No.” She didn’t even hesitate.

“Do you understand him?”

“Not always. But Ari, I don’t always have to understand the people I love.”


I’d been happy, and then, just like that, I was sad.



Aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe



It was good to laugh. I wanted to laugh and laugh and laugh until I laughed myself into becoming someone else.


My mother and father held hands. I wondered what that was like, to hold someone’s hand. I bet you could sometimes find all of the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.




He laughed. “What do you have against adults?”


“They too have many ideas about who we are. Or who we should be.”




“Did anybody ever tell you that you weren’t normal?”

“Is that something I should aspire to?”

“You’re not. You’re not normal.”

I shook my head.

“Where did you come from?”

“My parents had sex one night.”



Aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe



“I love swimming,” he said again. He was quiet for a little while. And then he said, “I love swimming—and you.” I didn’t say anything. “Swimming and you, Ari. Those are the things I love the most.”




The problem with trying hard not to think about something

was that you thought about it even more.




I miss you. Can I say that? Or is there a rule? You know, it’s interesting that you have so many rules for things. Why is that, Ari? I suppose everyone has rules for things. Maybe we get that from our parents. Parents are rule givers. Maybe they gave us too many rules, Ari. Did you ever think about that?



Aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe



For a few minutes I wished that Dante and I lived in the universe of boys instead of the universe of almost-men.


Busy doesn’t mean happy. I know that. But at least I’m not bored. Being bored is the worst.


Do you masturbate? I’m thinking you think that’s a funny question. But it’s a very serious question. I mean, you’re pretty normal. At least, you’re more normal than me. So maybe you masturbate or maybe you don’t. Maybe I’m a little obsessed with this topic lately. Maybe it’s just a phase. But, Ari, if you do masturbate, what do you think about? Sixteen-year-olds masturbate, right? How many times a week is normal?



Aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe



“So why do you want to get drunk?”

“To feel something.”




“Do you think, Ari, that love has anything to do with the secrets of the universe?”




I wondered what it would be like, to love a girl, to know how a girl thinks, to see the world through a girl’s eyes. Maybe they knew more than boys. Maybe they understood things that boys could never understand.


But love was always something heavy for me. Something I had to carry.




I’m not going to tell you that I miss you anymore.




They thought our youth could help us overcome everything. Maybe moms and dads forgot about this one small fact: being on the verge of seventeen could be harsh and painful and confusing. Being on the verge of seventeen could really suck.


I was in love with the innocence of dogs, the purity of their affection. They didn’t know enough to hide their feelings. They existed. A dog was a dog.


“I’m more mad at myself,” I said. “I always let you talk me into things. It’s not your fault.”

“Yeah,” he whispered.

“Don’t cry, okay?”

“Okay,” he said.

“You’re crying.”

“I’m not.”





Aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe



One of the secrets of the universe was that our instincts were sometimes stronger than our minds.


Even though summers were mostly made of sun and heat, summers for me were about the storms that came and went. And left me feeling alone. Did all boys feel alone? The summer sun was not meant for boys like me. Boys like me belonged to the rain.




Summer was supposed to be about freedom and youth and no school and possibilities and adventure and exploration. Summer was a book of hope. That’s why I loved and hated summers. Because they made me want to believe.




Maybe that’s how you measured whether a dream was good or bad. By the way it made you feel.


“Will you always be his friend?”


“No matter what?”

“No matter what.”

“He needs a friend. Everybody needs a friend.”

“I need a friend too,” I said. I had never said that before.


Another secret of the universe: Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. The clearest summer morning could end in a downpour. Could end in lightning and thunder.



Aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe



Sometimes, you do things and you do them not because you’re thinking but because you’re feeling. Because you’re feeling too much. And you can’t always control the things you do when you’re feeling too much.


Maybe the difference between being a boy and being a man is that boys couldn’t control the awful things they sometimes felt. And men could. That afternoon, I was just a boy. Not even close to being a man.




There are worse things in the world than a boy who likes to kiss other boys.




“Ari?” My father’s voice was soft. “Ari, Ari, Ari. You’re fighting this war in the worst possible way.”

“I don’t know how to fight it, Dad.”

“You should ask for help,” he said.

“I don’t know how to do that, either.”


“How can you love me so much?”

“How could I not love you? You’re the most beautiful boy in the world.”




Scars. A sign that you had been hurt. A sign that you had healed. Had I been hurt? Had I healed? Maybe we just lived between hurting and healing.




“Bowling sounds really boring.”

“Have you ever gone?”

“Of course I have. I’m not good at it.”

“Do you have to be good at everything?”



Senior year. And then life. Maybe that’s the way it worked. High school was just a prologue to the real novel. Everybody got to write you—but when you graduated, you got to write yourself. At graduation you got to collect your teacher’s pens and your parents’ pens and you got your own pen. And you could do all the writing. Yeah. Wouldn’t that be sweet?



Aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe



We were laughing again. And that was good. It wouldn’t be summer without Dante’s laughter.


Dante. I really liked him. I really, really liked him.





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