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Julian Scott
Julian Scott

The Secrets and Symbols of Three Meters Above The Sky Book



Three Meters Above the Sky: A Review of the Novel by Federico Moccia




Three Meters Above the Sky (Italian: Tre metri sopra il cielo) is a 1992 novel by Italian author Federico Moccia. It tells the story of a passionate but doomed romance between two young people from different worlds. The novel became a huge success among teenagers in Italy and Spain, where it was adapted into several films and a Netflix series. In this article, we will review the novel and explore its plot, characters, themes, and messages.




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Introduction




What is the novel about?




The novel is set in Rome in the early 1990s. It follows the lives of Babi and Step, two teenagers who belong to opposite social classes and lifestyles. Babi is a good girl from a wealthy family who attends a prestigious school and has a bright future ahead of her. Step is a bad boy from a poor neighborhood who loves motorcycles, fights, and parties. He has a troubled past and no plans for his future. Despite their differences, they fall madly in love and embark on an intense relationship that will change their lives forever.


Who are the main characters?




The main characters of the novel are:


  • Babi Alcázar: The female protagonist of the novel. She is 17 years old, blonde, blue-eyed, beautiful, smart, and kind. She lives with her parents and her younger sister Daniela in a luxurious apartment. She studies at a private all-girls school and has many friends. She dreams of becoming a lawyer like her father.



  • Step / Hugo Olivera: The male protagonist of the novel. He is 18 years old, dark-haired, green-eyed, handsome, strong, and rebellious. He lives with his mother and his older brother Paolo in a modest apartment. He dropped out of school and works as a mechanic at his uncle's garage. He leads a gang of delinquents who ride motorcycles and get into trouble.



  • Pollo / Chicken: Step's best friend and sidekick. He is loyal, funny, and adventurous. He has a crush on Babi's best friend Pallina.



  • Pallina / Little Ball: Babi's best friend and confidante. She is chubby, cheerful, and supportive. She likes Pollo but is afraid to admit it.



  • Alex / Alejandro Olivera: Step's older brother and role model. He is 25 years old, elegant, successful, and respectful. He works as a lawyer at a prestigious firm and has a girlfriend named Mara.



  • Rafaela Alcázar: Babi's mother and main antagonist of the novel. She is strict, conservative, and snobbish. She disapproves of Babi's relationship with Step and tries to separate them.



Why is it popular among teenagers?




The novel is popular among teenagers because it appeals to their emotions, fantasies, and desires. It portrays a romanticized version of love that is passionate, adventurous, and rebellious. It also depicts the joys and sorrows of adolescence, such as friendship, family, school, sex, drugs, and violence. The novel is written in a simple and colloquial language that is easy to understand and relate to. The novel also has a strong visual impact, as it describes the settings, the characters, and the actions in vivid detail. The novel has inspired many young people to imitate the style, the behavior, and the gestures of the protagonists, such as riding motorcycles, getting tattoos, or saying "I love you" three meters above the sky.


Plot summary




How do Babi and Step meet?




Babi and Step meet for the first time at a traffic light, where Step challenges Babi's boyfriend to a motorcycle race. Babi is scared and angry at Step's reckless behavior. Later, they meet again at a nightclub, where Step saves Babi from being assaulted by a drunk man. Babi is grateful but still annoyed by Step's arrogance. The next day, they meet again at school, where Babi discovers that Step is the new student in her class. Babi is surprised and curious about Step's presence.


How do they fall in love?




Babi and Step start to get closer as they interact more at school and outside. They discover that they have some things in common, such as their love for literature and poetry. They also share some personal secrets, such as Babi's fear of flying and Step's guilt over his father's death. They begin to feel attracted to each other and experience new sensations and emotions. They kiss for the first time on a bridge over the Tiber river, where Step tells Babi that he loves her three meters above the sky.


What are the main conflicts and challenges they face?




Babi and Step face many conflicts and challenges that threaten their relationship. Some of them are:


  • Their social differences: Babi and Step come from different worlds that do not understand or accept each other. Babi's family and friends are opposed to her relationship with Step and try to convince her to leave him. Step's friends are also skeptical of his relationship with Babi and mock him for changing his attitude.



  • Their personal differences: Babi and Step have different personalities, values, and goals that sometimes clash. Babi is responsible, ambitious, and cautious. She wants to study hard, go to college, and have a stable life. Step is impulsive, reckless, and carefree. He lives in the present, enjoys the adrenaline rush, and does not think about the consequences.



  • Their external enemies: Babi and Step have to deal with some enemies who want to harm them or separate them. Some of them are Daniela, Babi's sister who is jealous of her happiness and tries to seduce Step; Mara, Alex's girlfriend who is obsessed with Step and tries to sabotage their relationship; El Chino (The Chinese), a rival gang leader who hates Step and tries to kill him.



How does the novel end?




The novel ends with a tragic event that marks the end of Babi and Step's relationship. Pollo dies in a motorcycle accident while racing against El Chino. Babi witnesses the accident and blames Step for Pollo's death. She decides to break up with him and tells him that she never loved him. Step is devastated and tries to forget her by leaving Rome with his brother. The novel ends with a flash-forward of two years later, where Babi has moved on with her life and has a new boyfriend named Gustavo. She sees Step again at a traffic light, where he challenges Gustavo to a motorcycle race. She realizes that she still loves him but it is too late.


Analysis and evaluation




What are the main themes and messages of the novel?




The main themes and messages of the novel are:


  • Love: The novel explores the concept of love as a powerful force that can transform people's lives for better or worse. It shows how love can make people happy, passionate, brave, loyal, generous, creative, etc., but also how love can make people sad, jealous, angry, violent, selfish, irrational, etc.



Analysis and evaluation




What are the main themes and messages of the novel?




The main themes and messages of the novel are:


  • Love: The novel explores the concept of love as a powerful force that can transform people's lives for better or worse. It shows how love can make people happy, passionate, brave, loyal, generous, creative, etc., but also how love can make people sad, jealous, angry, violent, selfish, irrational, etc.



  • Youth: The novel portrays the experiences of youth as a time of discovery, adventure, freedom, rebellion, experimentation, etc., but also as a time of confusion, insecurity, pressure, responsibility, risk, and loss. It reflects the hopes and fears of young people who are trying to find their identity and place in the world.



  • Social class: The novel depicts the contrast between the rich and the poor in Rome. It exposes the prejudices and stereotypes that exist between different social groups. It also questions the role of money and status in determining one's happiness and success.



How does the novel portray love, youth, and social class?




The novel portrays love as a complex and contradictory phenomenon that can be both beautiful and painful. It shows how love can inspire people to overcome their differences and difficulties, but also how love can lead to conflicts and tragedies. It illustrates how love can be influenced by external factors such as family, friends, society, etc., but also how love can be a personal choice that requires courage and sacrifice.


The novel portrays youth as a stage of life that is full of opportunities and challenges. It depicts how young people face various problems such as family issues, peer pressure, academic expectations, sexual curiosity, drug abuse, violence, etc. It also highlights how young people enjoy various pleasures such as friendship, music, sports, parties, romance, etc. It demonstrates how young people have different dreams and goals that may or may not be fulfilled.


The novel portrays social class as a factor that affects one's life in many ways. It shows how social class determines one's access to education, health care, justice, culture, etc. It also shows how social class shapes one's values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, etc. It reveals how social class creates barriers and gaps between people who belong to different worlds.


What are the strengths and weaknesses of the novel?




Some of the strengths of the novel are:


  • Its realistic and relatable depiction of teenage life in Rome.



  • Its engaging and fast-paced plot that keeps the reader interested.



  • Its simple and colloquial language that is easy to understand and connect with.



  • Its strong visual impact that creates vivid images in the reader's mind.



Some of the weaknesses of the novel are:


  • Its clichéd and stereotypical portrayal of some characters and situations.



  • Its lack of depth and originality in some themes and messages.



  • Its excessive use of violence and sex that may be inappropriate for some readers.



  • Its negative and pessimistic view of love that may discourage some readers.



How does the novel compare to other similar works?




The novel belongs to the genre of young adult romance fiction. It has been compared to other popular works such as Twilight by Stephenie Meyer or The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Some similarities between these works are:


  • They all feature a forbidden or doomed romance between two young protagonists who belong to different worlds.



  • They all deal with themes such as love, youth, death, identity, etc.



  • They all have a large fan base among teenagers who identify with the characters and situations.



Some differences between these works are:


  • The novel is set in a realistic and contemporary context while Twilight involves fantasy elements such as vampires and werewolves.



  • The novel focuses more on the social aspects of the romance while The Fault in Our Stars focuses more on the emotional aspects of the romance.



  • The novel has a more negative and tragic tone while Twilight and The Fault in Our Stars have a more positive and hopeful tone.



Conclusion




What is the main takeaway from the novel?




The main takeaway from the novel is that love is a powerful and unpredictable force that can change one's life in many ways. It can bring joy and happiness, but also pain and sorrow. It can make people grow and learn, but also make people suffer and lose. It can unite and inspire people, but also divide and destroy people. It is a choice that involves risks and rewards, costs and benefits, gains and losses.


Who would enjoy reading this novel?




This novel would appeal to readers who enjoy:


  • Romantic stories that are passionate, dramatic, and intense.



  • Young adult fiction that is realistic, relatable, and engaging.



  • Italian culture and lifestyle that is colorful, vibrant, and diverse.



FAQs




  • What does the title "Three Meters Above the Sky" mean?



The title refers to a phrase that Step says to Babi when he tells her that he loves her. He says that when he is with her, he feels like he is three meters above the sky, meaning that he feels happy, free, and alive.


  • What is the significance of the bridge over the Tiber river?



The bridge over the Tiber river is the place where Babi and Step kiss for the first time. It is also the place where they say goodbye for the last time. It symbolizes their relationship as a bridge between two different worlds that can connect or separate them.


  • What is the role of literature and poetry in the novel?



Literature and poetry play an important role in the novel as they are a common interest between Babi and Step. They also serve as a way of expressing their feelings and emotions. For example, Babi writes a poem for Step as a birthday gift, and Step recites a poem for Babi as a farewell gesture.


  • What are some of the references to other works of art in the novel?



The novel contains several references to other works of art such as books, movies, songs, etc. Some of them are:


  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare: The novel is inspired by this classic tragedy of star-crossed lovers who belong to rival families.



  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: The novel quotes this famous children's book about a boy who travels to different planets and learns valuable lessons.



  • Titanic by James Cameron: The novel mentions this epic movie about a doomed romance between a rich girl and a poor boy on board a sinking ship.



  • I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston: The novel plays this iconic song during a romantic scene between Babi and Step.



  • What are some of the symbols in the novel?



The novel uses some symbols to represent some ideas or concepts. Some of them are:


  • The motorcycle: It symbolizes Step's passion for speed, adventure, and freedom. It also symbolizes his rebelliousness, risk-taking, and carelessness.



  • The tattoo: It symbolizes Step's loyalty, friendship, and memory. It also symbolizes his pain, guilt, and regret.



  • The ring: It symbolizes Babi's love, commitment, and trust. It also symbolizes her innocence, purity, and fragility.



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