Each month, the Columbia Public Library offers selections from its collection related to a current best-seller or hot topic. Library Associate Ida Fogle compiled this month’s selections.
“My Brilliant Friend” by Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions, 2012, translated by Ann Goldstein) is the first book in a series centering on the lifelong friendship between two women, Elena and Lila, who meet as children in the 1950s and grow up together in a gritty, impoverished neighborhood in Naples, Italy. “My Brilliant Friend” follows Elena and Lila through childhood to the beginning of their adult years. The writing is abundant in the details of daily life, while also showing the bigger picture of families, a community and a country recovering from the hardships of war. Elena is the narrator, but Lila is the star. Lila is brilliant in school and full of spark out on the violent streets, fighting back against bullies and living large. Yet for all of Lila’s potential, her options are limited by family and economic circumstance.