We the Animals
Three brothers tear their way through childhood—smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from trash, hiding out when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off her graveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklyn—he’s Puerto Rican, she’s white—and their love is a serious, dangerous thing th...more
This fact ca...more
the story told from the perspective of what we learn is a 7-year-old boy...(he has a birthday and his mother wants him to stay six...six plus one year, six plus two...whatever.
a strange family, strange in that the father either one dry humps the mother in the bathroom, her ass on the white porcelain sink, her back pressed into the faucet and mirror, or he focks her dearly while the boys....take a bath...more
A lyrical evocation of a strange, violent, impoverished childhood, with the rough edges sanded off by language so that the whole book has the feel of a fever dream. The chapters are each self-contained short stories, more or less, each like a stiff shot of whiskey, each a glimpse of some event in the lives of a poor family growing up in Northern New York a few decades past.
Some readers complain about the language being "over workshopped," but I think that's a bunk bit of...more
The book is also masterful in its depth of humanity and in its right-on exploration of human experience not usually explored in serious literature....more
I'm not sure just how I feel yet, having finished the boo...more
This is a BEAUTIFUL, dark, funny, shocking book. It's like a Peurto Rican Catcher in the Rye if you will. Written like a series of connected, yet stand alone short stories it's one of those literary reads that is a pleasure to go throu...more
I was completely entranced by the undulating family dynamic (all the shifts are subtle and masterful) until the jarring ending. The narrator isn't drawn strongly enoug...more
Three brothers tear their way through childhood-smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from rubbish, hiding when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off her graveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklyn-he's Puerto Rican, she's white-barely out of childhood themselves, and their love is a serious, dangerous thing.
Life in this family is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and the euphoria of belonging completely to one another
--Beautiful writing. Just gorgeous.
--Each chapter is its own story; each can stand alone
--It's a very quick read
--The standalone nature of the chapters precludes a cohesive, linear narrative. We're given snapshots only, leading to a somewhat disjointed story with an unclear timeline.
--The ending differs in tone, style, and content compared with the earlier chapters. It's harsh and comes out of nowhere.
--The lyrical language doesn't really reflect the early story well, in my opinion. Th...more
It seems to...more
"When he left, I s...more
Ook de Amerikaan Justin Torres kende een moeilijke jeugd en schreef er een boek over. Maar wat zijn debuutroman onderscheidt van andere ‘moeilijke-jeugd-boeken’ is dat hij het dwepen met het geweld van zijn vader, de depressies van zijn...more
I'm not sure exactly how to describe this book. It's that good. I'm so glad I picked it up and I hope the author has more books. Plus, it's a quick read: only about 125 pages or so.
I saw this book at the library and decided to read it, with no idea whatsoever what it is about. Sometimes, that isn't good for readers and book bloggers. This is an exception. Not to sound too corny, but this is a gem of a book. That did sound corny. So the book is about a family of five, the three sons (Joe...more
This narrative of three wild boys and their emotionally unstable parents is both one of the most beautiful books I have read in a long time. Torres uses his brilliant prose to resurrect all the joyful and terrifying experiences of childhood. The boys in "We the Animals" are constantly being forced into situations that are beyond their comprehension, but we cannot...more
He took my chin and turned my face toward his. "But now I know," he said, "God's scattered all the clean among the dirty. You and me and Joel, we're nothing more than a fistful of seed that God tossed into the mud and horseshit. We're on our own."
He wrapped one arm and one leg around me and was silent an...more
I found myself watching this family from the outside, just like the narrator seems to be observing...more
I found out about Justin Torres’s debut novel after I...more
An autobiographical account of a childhood in upstate New York, We The Animals tells the story of three mixed-race brothers born to very young parents, growing up in a volatile household with little money and less stability. Torres' words sear through the pages, bringing to life the crunch of boots through snow, the tension that envelopes every member of the family when a parent is stressed, the narrator's private fears about his own difference, and t...more