Book Review: This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

Published: September 2012 by Riverhead Books

Pages: 217This is how you lose her

Genre: Fiction (Short Stories)

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Publisher’s Blurb: On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In the heat of a hospital laundry room in New Jersey, a woman does her  lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness–and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses: artistic Alma; the aging Miss Lora; Magdalena, who thinks all Dominican men are cheaters; and the love of his life, whose heartbreak ultimately becomes his own. In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, the stories in This Is How You Lose Her lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that “the half-life of love is forever.”

The Author: Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

My Thoughts: I wasn’t supposed to read this book at all. My husband and I hardly ever read the same type of books as our tastes in books are poles apart but when our book orders were delivered three days ago and we both took out our books from the box, he said “I would like you to read the last short story in this book I ordered. I thought, ‘oh well, its just a few pages, let’s see what this is about’ so I read this ‘story’ and found myself reading the book backwards, one short story after another until it was over and I still felt like I needed more ( I didn’t want it to end, really!). This is my first introduction to the author and I would say I love his writing. I must admit I didn’t like some (a few) of the short stories basically because of the constant use of profanity but the stories were so real and touching that I could connect to a lot of the characters on different levels. I particularly loved the writer’s style of switching from English to Spanish with reckless abandon even if I don’t understand Spanish, it just made everything original. Also, as most of the stories were cited in the New Jersey area, I felt as if I knew some of the characters or I had driven past them around Elizabeth or Union (My mother’s two sisters live in the New Jersey area and I visit them quite often so I am familiar with the names of most of the cities because I  am always out and about). This book also drove home the difficulties immigrants face when they arrive in the USA and gave a very realistic picture of the hardships and sacrifices people make to live away from home. I was educated about the Dominican Republic and was able to get a feel of their culture and people. Yunior, the main character in the book and his brother, Rafa drove me crazy with all their craziness and my best character could be Magda (I think). If you love short stories, you must read this book asap! I am currently waiting in line for my husband to finish reading ‘The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ by the same author which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Award. I can now get back to my own books….



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