Hilary's Reviews > This Is How You Lose Her

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz
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Oct 12, 12

it was ok
bookshelves: shortlisted, short-stories
Read on October 12, 2012

All right, we get it, Junot Diaz. You’ve got a fun, energetic style, and we don’t know any other Dominican writers, so you can keep writing about sucios and morenos and we’ll keep applauding because it’ll seem culturally insensitive to say that, after three books largely focused on your thinly-veiled alter ego, Yunior, it’s time you tried something new.

In his previous two works, “Drown” and the Pulitzer-winning “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” Yunior was a dorky outcast more likely to read Lovecraft than find love, which helped to defuse the inherent sexism of his machismo-infused raps. Now, he’s all grown up, and without the sweetness of his awkward teenage dorkiness, his relationships and near-constant infidelities (and subsequent attempts to reminisce about those ruined relationships) just come off as offensive. Do we really feel bad for the cheater? Do we need to revisit characters from “Wao” to narrowly focus on love/sex/machismo, ruining the best part of that novel, which was its broad scope? I didn't.

Sure, this book has its moments of brilliance, where Diaz gets a great rhythm going, or writes a particularly evocative sentence or description, but those moments were far and few between. I understand that authors get stuck on a character (Roth’s Nathan Zuckerman, Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom), but what reviewers who cite those books to excuse Diaz forget is that those authors wrote other books involving other characters. Since 1996, Diaz has managed two slim books of stories and a novel, all of which essentially are just about Yunior. I enjoyed “Drown” a great deal, “Wao” a little less so (too many Lovecraft/comic book references), but this book just felt like a stale retread of those better works. It was the “What’s Happenin’ Now” to the previous “What’s Happenin,’” I suppose, if “What’s Happenin’ Now” was pretty damn sexist and made one feel kinda icky for reading it.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by John (new) - added it

John Bummer! I still want to check it out. I really loved Wao, then I read Drown and was a little disappointed.


Kathleen Skoog Icky for reading it, is exactly how I felt. Haven't read his former work, but don't need to.


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