Book Review: This Is How You Lose Her

This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

From GoodReads: 

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.

This book just would not leave me alone. It was creeping around, peeking around corners where ever I would look. In magazines, on, everywhere!  I didn't even know what it was about or who the author was, but when Entertainment Weekly tells me to read a book, I usually look in to it! 

This was one of the quickest reads I have read in a long time! It's more or less a stream of thoughts from the narrator, like lots of run on sentences and incomplete thoughts.

But I still enjoyed it. Mostly because it's raw and there's no thought, feeling or observation left off the table. Sometimes that refreshing.

There are parts of this book that are hard to read, like when a loved family member dies of cancer, or when a character treated someone who loved them like dirt, that you want to stop reading or what to hate the character, but you won't. It's too easy of a read. 

One of the things I like best about this book is how different it is from anything I normally read. It's written mostly from the point of view of a bad guy, a Dominican American man who treats woman like one night stands even when he's head over heels in love with them.  But his thoughts about the women he loves are pretty deep and he does feel real emotions that you can relate to, so it was hard to hate him.

Here are some lines that will help you understand why I love Junior, the main character: 

"I'm not a bad guy.  I know how that sounds- defensive, unscrupulous- but it's true. I'm like everybody else: weak, full of mistakes, but basically good."

There are some parts in the books that are randomly from another observers point of view who talks at Junior: 
"You were at the age where you could fall in love with a girl over an expression, over a gesture. That's what happened with your girlfriend. She stopped to pick up her purse and your heart flew out of you." 

It's a great look into a culture that I really had never thought of before. Being brought to a new country at age 4, Yunior and his older brother learned English by watching endless hours of TV and not being allowed to play outside. I related to his yearning to escape out of the confines of his tiny apartment, just to catch a glimpse of the ocean. 

This collection of short stories about Junoir's life and other Dominican Americans survives on one single notion: We just want to be loved. Loved as a parent, as a brother, as part of a culture, despite mistakes, short comings and misgivings. 

And even though there was enough Spanish slang in this book to throw me off a couple times a chapter, I still couldn't dismiss the raw love the author wrote so truthfully about. Love's a pretty universal language that we can all understand. 

I give this a Half Empty. It's not all the way empty because I did appreciate the writing and originality of the quick paced prose. It's half empty because it lacked the smooth story line that I love so much.