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Book Review: Call Me By Your Name

Rachel Saylor


When a love story pulls at your heart and makes you root for the two lovers to end up together, happily living their days as one, it is something to hold onto and cherish. When a story can enrapture you and procure emotions such as sorrow, anger, and ecstasy, it is a story that should be talked about and shared. 

Call Me By Your Name is a story about discovering your first love and the sorrow and joy that accompanies it. It’s about feeling vulnerable when first exploring sex while you are still awkward and unsure of your footing, yet eager and ecstatic to have such a strong connection with someone. It also shows the beauty in having a deep, intimate connection with your parents. How a relationship with them in which you can discuss vast topics and feel free to be open and honest with them brings about the possibility of loving acceptance without conditions. It will make you want to kiss your mom and dad on the cheek or pull them into a hug more often with passion, sending vibrations of your love for them through your touch. 

The story takes place in 1983, so when a romantic relationship with two guys is etched with the discomfort of being taboo, you as the reader are not that surprised. However, comparing that to today’s standards, can we truly say we have come that much farther even 35 years later? Don’t some people still push themselves to fight their natural urges and desires or hide part of what makes them them because they fear being thrown as an outcast in their family, or from their communities or just because it doesn't fall into the majority? The way the parents, even back in 1983, were so accepting of their son with whom he chose to love was so beautiful and makes my heart ache for parent-child relationships that suffer because there isn’t this same open acceptance and love. 

I look forward to engaging in stories, such as Call Me By Your Name, that send tears streaming down my cheeks and that leaves a lasting impression on my heart. Stories that represent marginalized groups that have been largely ostracized by so many throughout history. Stories that I get lost in and feel apart of. Stories that evoke such strong emotions that it moves people to change their mindsets to be a more understanding, loving individual. It’s what I hope to do for my readers as a writer. 

*Side note about the film adaptation: 

The chemistry between the two actors, Timothée and Armie is electric and reels you into their romance. Coupled with the long shots of Northern Italy’s landscape and the characters basking in the slow paced summer sun, it’s a film that makes you feel as if you are taking part of the entire summer spent in Italy, living in a villa, surrounded by fruit trees, on the outskirts of a sleepy Italian town just a pleasant bike ride away. 

Both the book and the film are the sorts to be read and watched many times over.