Understanding a Modern Classic: My Brilliant Friend

Do you want to practice your close reading skills? Immerse yourself in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novel.

Locations: Burlingame, San Mateo

Cost: $110/hr.

Recommended hours: 9


  • Practice close reading and literary analysis, with a focus on character, setting, symbol, and theme
  • Understand metanarrative techniques
  • Discuss the role of the author and the purpose of literature, both within this novel and the world
  • Learn to place fiction in its cultural and historical context
  • Write an essay that weaves personal narrative with literary analysis

To Enroll Call (650) 331-3251


Course Description:

My Brilliant Friend is the first volume of Elena Ferrante’s internationally celebrated Neapolitan Novels. This book follows Lila and Elena as they navigate childhood and adolescence in their claustrophobic neighborhood, where legacies of violence and jealousy seem impossible to escape. Here, Lila and Elena–both clever, observant, and ambitious–form a complex friendship that will shape their lives.

Students will read, analyze, and discuss this Bildungsroman (coming-of-age story). They will practice close reading and annotation skills that are necessary for success in any literature course. They will also discuss Ferrante’s themes, forming their own opinions on how gender, class, family, history, literature, envy, cruelty, and love operate in the novel. And, they will explore what it means for an author to hide her identity and name a character after herself. Finally, students will have a chance to write about significant friendships and experiences in their own lives. They will craft a short essay that combine literary analysis and personal narrative, giving them new insight into both forms.

Make the Most of the Summer!

Students who stay actively engaged in the learning process during the summer perform better during the school year.

Contact AJ Tutoring to Enroll in Summer Tutoring
Peninsula Main Phone Number (650) 331-3251
Free Consultation