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Me and You Paperback – February 7, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Reprising the childish perspective and sinister psychological freightedness of Ammaniti’s international best-seller I’m Not Scared (2002), this novel, already a best-seller in Italy, sees Ammaniti in familiar form. Its world is a narrow one, constrained by the perspective of antisocial Lorenzo Cumi and made up, for the most part, of only the cellar room he inhabits while his parents think he is on a trip with friends. Lorenzo, diagnosed at one point with narcissistic personality disorder, is delineated with sensitivity and skill. He is 14, uninterested in or incapable of connecting with people, and eager for a week’s solitary refuge. When his troubled half sister, Olivia, shows up, though, they are both forced, rather dramatically, to confront and perhaps begin to overcome their respective weaknesses and evasions. The pacing of the novel is odd and sometimes forced, and there is something a bit false and impoverished at its center, though that could charitably be seen as an authentic expression of the narrator’s sociopathic tendencies. Still, its sensational emotionalism and claustrophobic intensity make this an undeniably engaging (and quick) read. --Meg Kinney


A #1 bestseller in Italy

"Immensely engaging . . . Both tender and emotionally arresting, Ammaniti's novel is unforgettable." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[Niccolo Ammaniti] elegizes adolescence fiercely and sympathetically. His 14-year-old hero, Lorenzo Cumi, is a great character, part Young Werther, part Kurt Cobain . . . [Me and You] is scary, lovely and at last a heartbreaker.” —Kirkus Review

“[Ammaniti] writes with an unadorned style about moral predicaments of the young in small-town Italy . . . Lorenzo reminds an American reader of . . . other teenage misfits from Holden Caulfield to Colin in Alan Sillitoe’s Loneliness of a Long-Distance Runner.” —The Arts Fuse

“Italian author Niccolo Ammaniti does a lot in 160 pages, including surprise, humor, and frighten you—sometimes simultaneously.” —Daily Candy

“Ammaniti’s prose is nimble, perceptive and economical . . . There’s a lot to love about this book—its reticent empathy, its delicate and pragmatic treatment of addiction, its remarkable use of restricted physical space.” —Full Stop

Me and You takes a short time to read but offers a memorable experience in a mutual recognition of loneliness and grief.” —Curled Up with a Good Book

Praise for Niccolo Ammaniti

“Exuberant and audacious.” —Observer (UK)

“The new Italian word for talent is Ammaniti.” —The Times (UK)

“A fearsomely gifted writer.” —Independent (UK)

“A master storyteller.” —Guardian (UK)

“Europe’s hottest novelist.” —Kirkus Reviews

"The Evening Chorus" by Helen Humphreys
From a writer of delicate and incandescent prose, "The Evening Chorus" offers a beautiful, spare examination of the natural world and the human heart. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 153 pages
  • Publisher: Black Cat; Tra edition (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802170900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802170903
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,005,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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See all 20 customer reviews
It took me just two hours to read this book and, I really liked it a lot.
Ammaniti brings to bear an impressive combination of skill and heart in his creation of this short, sweet, moving novel.
The 2000 story unfolds during a 5- or 6-day period and deals mostly with Lorenzo.
Alfred J. Kwak

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on January 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
Lorenzo Cumi is a boy in a bubble. He has no friends. As a kid who imagines his room to be "a cube that floated through space," Lorenzo is untroubled by solitude. He believes he would be content as a prisoner in solitary confinement. Lorenzo knows he isn't "normal" but he's studied his classmates so that he can pretend to be. When his protective camouflage fails to ward off the bullies, he imitates the bullies. The pretense allows him to make it through the day without being scorned or injured, but by the time he is fourteen, he concludes that he is only happy when he is by himself. No amount of pretending could change the world outside his house, a world "filled with violence, competition, and suffocation," where "girls are mean and they make fun of you."

To mollify his parents (who worry about his strangeness), Lorenzo pretends he is leaving home on a weeklong ski trip to Cortina with classmates who didn't actually invite him. He plans to spend the week in the basement of his apartment building in Rome, armed with a Playstation, Stephen King novels, and Marvel comic books. He spends his time musing about his mother (to whom he is overly attached) and his rebellious half-sister Olivia, who regards their father as "the master of repression and silence." His days in the basement seem paradisiacal until Olivia shows up. Although she's an unwelcome and annoying guest, her problems force Lorenzo to confront his own isolation from reality.

Me and You is a charming little novel that perfectly captures the hell of being a fourteen year old outsider. It begins and ends with Lorenzo looking back on a formative event in his life ten years after it occurred, an event that may or may not have caused him to burst free of his bubble and accept the value and necessity of friendship.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lila Gustavus on February 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
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 therefore 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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lakis Fourouklas on February 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is one of those books that somehow manage, in an almost magical way, to steal a reader's heart; and that not so much because of their myth, but because of the prose; a prose that sounds tender, almost nostalgic, and which every now and then seems to converse with the silence and the psyches.
This is the story of Lorenzo, a fourteen year old boy that doesn't seem to do well in the world he lives in, but who also tries hard not to show it. And that, because of his mother, whom he deeply loves, and whose aura for some reason reminds him of Morocco.
"Life is sad without a sense of humor," the author says, and that's exactly the element that's missing from the boy's life. Whatever he does he can never feel glad, not even a little bit happy. Apart from his mom the only other person he seems to get on well with is himself.
His parents cannot really understand him and feel sorry for him, and that's why he decides to take a trip to the mountains with some of the popular kids in his class. But of course that trip will never come to be, because he just made it up. His plan is simple: while his parents will feel happy thinking that he's at last at some faraway place and having fun with some other people, he'll be hiding in a long forgotten storeroom in the basement of their building.
At the beginning everything goes according to plan: He stocks his humble abode with all the supplies he'll need for his weeklong stay and then spends some quality time with himself, playing video games, watching TV and thinking deeply about his life; "Why did I have to be just like the others?" "On my own I was happy, with the others I always had to pretend."
Now, hidden as he is in his beloved basement and isolated from the whole world, yes, he does feel a little bit happy.
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