The book's description from the publisher's website:
From internationally best-selling author Niccolò Ammaniti, comes a
funny, tragic, gut-punch of a novel, charting how an unlikely alliance
between two outsiders blows open one family’s secrets. Lorenzo Cumi is a
fourteen-year-old misfit. To quell the anxiety of his concerned,
socially conscious parents, he tells them he’s been invited on an
exclusive ski vacation with the popular kids. On the morning of the
trip, Lorenzo demands that his mother drop him off before they arrive at
the train station, insisting that his status will be compromised if he
shows up accompanied by his mother. Reluctantly, she agrees, and as soon
as she is safely out of the vicinity, he turns around and makes his way
back to his neighborhood, to put his real plan in motion: for one
blessed week, Lorenzo will retreat to a forgotten cellar in his family’s
apartment building, where he will live in perfect isolation, keeping
the adult world at bay. But when his estranged half-sister,
Olivia, shows up in the cellar unexpectedly, his idyll is shattered, and
the two become locked in a battle of wills—forced to confront the very
demons they are each struggling to escape.
I seem to be on some kind of a European fiction binge right now and I'm
quite enjoying it. Just as I did enjoy Me and You. I have to say I'm
perplexed as to why it's getting a low rating in Goodreads. Maybe it's
just the kind of fiction that doesn't appeal to everyone but when it
does get your attention, it possesses it fully.
The main character, Lorenzo, is an introvert through and through
and, being one myself, I identified with many feelings and thoughts of
his, and most importantly didn't find it all that strange that he had
closed himself off for those couple of days, just to be left alone for
once. His motives were so very clear to me that I had no problems
accepting the whole premise of this novel as perfectly natural. And the
appearance of his half-sister, Olivia, only added more sense to the
story and made it all the more believable.
Yes, Me and You is a sorrowful and a slightly dark story but because
it doesn't have a 'Happily ever after' ending, it's that much closer to
real life. And at least in my real life, things don't always have a
happy ending, there are sadness and grief and unfulfilled promises to
deal with. And it's okay, c'est la vie. And that 'la vie' as portrayed
by Niccolo Ammaniti, is not a Disney World one and a lot more
precious despite its fallibility.
It is a short novel but it did manage to give me fully developed
characters that I couldn't help but be empathetic with. I can easily
say that if it were longer (not that it needed to), I would love this
pair of imperfect siblings and wouldn't want to part with them. But Me
and You is the right length and as such it reminded me of the lessons
life teaches us even if we are momentarily blind to them.
FTC: I received an e-galley from the publisher, Grove/ Atlantic, Inc. via NetGalley.