My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Published in 2011 by Penguin Random House

About the Author

Ferrante is the author of half a dozen novels, the best known of which is the four-volume work known as Neapolitan novels about two perceptive and intelligent girls from Naples who try to create a life for themselves within a violent culture. The series consists of My Brilliant Friend (2012), The Story of a New Name (2013), Those Who Leave And Those Who Stay(2014), and The Story of the Lost Child (2015). Despite being recognized as a novelist on an international scale Ferrante has kept her identity secret since the publication of her first novel in 1992. peculation as to her true identity has been rife, and several theories have been put forth, based on information Ferrante has given in interviews as well as analysis drawn from the content of her novels.


I’ve started this series and completed Book 1. After I finished this, I must admit that I was a bit physically and emotionally drained. There are a lot of characters and families in this tortured and dangerous neighborhood. I had to keep going back to different conversations introducing characters to remind myself. The Italian names don’t help matters either. This book is a must read for every girl in their 20’s because it takes you through a friendship that is so real, it makes you go back to your own friendships – identifying with incidents that have helped sustain, ignore or break them. It’s a coming of age story for two female protagonists that decide to go on very different paths but look at the other with envy and sometimes disdain. It’s a classic marriage versus education storyline that leaves you hanging on which one wins. At the end of the book, you’re not really sure.