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Posted July 17, 2012
Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone ISBN: 9780670023585 Diff
Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone
Difficult to find translations for the Italian phrases but you can get the gist of what's being said. This takes place in an Italian city. The slums, housing projects and the beach the children swim in is full of sewer. All the people that live there work at the steel mills.
This is a difficult time in the girls lifes as they become teens and adults in the poverty of the Italian community.
Anna and Francesca live in Piombiono, Italy and heading into teenagers who are waiting to experience what life has to offer them.
They like to dance nude in front of the bathroom window where others can watch them. They allow the boys to kiss and feel them. They also like to touch one another and have secret places they go to.
Other boys in the area work at the mill, working with hot iron all day and all night. One day Anna goes with a boy after a roller skating party and lets him do what he wants. She's on birth control now. In the meantime Francesca has been beatten up by her father and her mother won't go to the police.
Anna's mother has filed papers for divorce but now she wants to stop as her husband has returned, paying off the sons car, a big ring and a kitten for the women, which is exactly what they want. His clothes are also very high class.
The girls and their brothers and friends grow from teens to adults over the years as they move through sex, drugs, abuse, death, lying, stealing, etc to get where they need to be.
I found this book hard to read because of the abuse with drugs and sex.
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Posted April 23, 2013
Original, tear-jerking and inspiring, Swimming to Elba follows t
Original, tear-jerking and inspiring, Swimming to Elba follows two young girls as they come-of-age in a rural Italian village. However, the book doesn't only focus on the two girls but also on the adults, who aren't much smarter than the girls, and also gives the view that this sad little village is actually a living breathing being. All in all I highly enjoyed this book regardless of how often it had me in tears.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 23, 2013
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and h
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I wanted to like Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone soooo badly.
But I know very clearly why I dislike it. It wasn't for me. Let me explain.
Anna and Francesca are the best of friends. They live in a poor town in Italy, but they are everything anyone would ever want: beautiful, sexy, popular. . . and they throw it in everyone's faces. They also are 13 years old.
As they enter high school and learn more about themselves their friendship changes.
I love the aspects of friendship and change, even the snottiness with the popularity.
But I couldn't stand all the sexuality. They are YOUNG teens! I know it happens, but I don't want to read about it. And the drugs. . . all over the place in their town. It was just a little too dark at too young of an age for my liking.
Maybe you'll feel differently.
Thanks for reading,
Rebecca @ Love at First Book
Posted April 9, 2013
Wow. Swimming to Elba was such a disheartening book. Incredibly
Wow. Swimming to Elba was such a disheartening book. Incredibly well done, but a difficult read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
This novel deals with so many overwhelming themes: poverty, drugs, sex, abuse. Whenever I thought some hope may be on the horizon, that hope was dashed. I felt compelled to read on and on, but I had a knot in my stomach the entire time.
It was an odd reading experience for me. I lived in Italy when I was the same age as Francesca and Anna. Now, I'm around the same as their parents. I thought about my own experiences at their age, having such close, intense friendships, spending summers at the beach, enjoying the free-range kind of liberty that kids enjoy in small Italian towns.
However, the romanticized Italy of our travel books, television shows, and life abroad is not a complete picture. At one point in the book, Anna's mother very bluntly expresses how she feels about her country. Through their status updates and message board posts, I see glimpses of the frustration and uncertainty my Italian friends have toward their government and the state of their economy. I can tell they are worried about what the future holds for themselves and their children.
That feeling of disillusionment, common among young Italians, is something 27-year-old Silvia Avallone nailed in this debut novel.
Her writing is gorgeous in the descriptive, expressive way that is the Italian language. Antony Shugaar did an amazing job with the translation.
I'm not sure about the ending of the book, though. Something happens that is so graphic and horrific, I was sick to my stomach. When I finished reading the last chapter, I'm not sure if I hadn't gotten over that incident, was still stunned, or what. But I was left thinking, "really? that's it? and now it's over, just like that?"
You can read an interview with Silvia Avallone at the Penguin Group website. It offers a great deal of insight into her novel.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.