We may not brush our hair, change out of our pajamas, or sit down at the dining table, but we always make time to read.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
We the Animals - Justin Torres
Jake found a recommendation for this book in one of his magazines - and since I'm always eager to encourage his reading, I picked it up for him, and then stole it back for myself. I'm always (perhaps overly?) impressed by anyone who was a Stegner Fellow, so Torres started out ahead in my book from the start. The book (which seems perhaps autobiographical?) is about three-brothers growing up with their Puerto Rican mother and white father in a chaotic abusive household. It is a coming-of-age story of the youngest brother - and told in a stream-of-consciouness lyrical narrative, with each chapter its own vignette in the life of the boys' development. The book is angry and uncomfortable, and while I'm not usually a fan of this type of disjointed piecemeal storytelling, I found this book quite powerful. At times, it seems the author is trying too hard to create a new style, or to be a bit too literary in his presentation, but ultimately, this book worked for me. Because I like stories, I did finish the book wanting to know more about each brother and wishing it had followed a more traditional narrative. This is a book that stayed with me - and is short enough that I could go back and find the parts I wanted to re-read for clarity and emphasis. Seemed like a bit of an experiment of a novel to me, and I look forward to reading more from this author.