Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Royal We

Coming-Of-Age stories always interest me. Perhaps because in everything I read, I always try to find a lesson learned, may it be a life lesson, an information learned, sometimes even a food recipe, or a food or music reference. Justin Torres' "We The Animals" made me reflect a lot. It is a story of a dysfunctional family that could either be yours or mine, but not really. It is Mr. Torres' first novel, and as first novelists tend to do, the writing is very stylized. Here the story is initially told in third person plural, with the "we" being three boys of mixed heritage. Their father is Puerto Rican, their mother is white, and their father beats their mother. He disappears, has affairs, comes back, and she takes him back. She tries to escape, she tries to take her kids away, she eventually comes back. I was lost in their world instantly, and up to a certain point I was wondering why this book was filed under "gay fiction"on Amazon. The last third of the book switches narrators, it now becomes the youngest kid, but the tone of the novel stays the same. I kind of wish the latter part was more explored, since I thought it was just as interesting. I know some people have written the abrupt change threw them off, but I kind of knew it was there all along. Maybe nothing surprises me anymore. This is the kind of book I liked a lot, but I don't know if I can bear to read again. 


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