My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend probably needs little introduction but follows the friendship of Elena and Lila. Two girls growing up in a poor neighbourhood of Naples in the 1950’s. Elena is a beautiful, quiet, intelligent child while Lila, also very smart is plain, abrasive and defiant. They form a strong and intense friendship when the reader follows as they grow up and become women together.


I do have to say that this novel was quite hyped for me. Pretty much everyone gushed about how amazing it was, which was probably al little unfair on the novel as I was left with unreasonably high expectations. I did very much enjoy it, yet it did not quite live up to it’s illustrious reputation. I loved the concept and the reality of the characters. Ferrante perfectly captured the ebbs and flows of close female relationships. We see the innocence of childhood dramas and the angst of the teen-age years when lives change abruptly. Ferrante’s words are brutally honest and true, particularly with the contradictions of female friendships. You want the very best for your beloved friend but you don’t want them to eclipse you or leave you behind.


The characters, particularly Elena and Lila leave you wanting more. The reader needs to know what happens next. In fact, I am already looking forward to the second novel and seeing where their adult friendship takes both Lila and Elena. A novel deserving of it’s reputation I die My Brilliant Friend three slices of pizza, it is set in Italy after all.


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