Wednesday, May 23, 2012

We The Animals - Torres

We The Animals, Justin Torres' debut novel is an autobiographical, coming-of-age story like no other. At a very short 145 pages, this book tells the story of three brothers who share a desperate, wild childhood.

Life is crazy, chaotic, unstable and violent. The boys share their world with Ma (a white woman who is perpetually exhausted from working the graveyard shift, raising three boys, and surviving life with an abusive husband) and Pa (a Puerto Rican with a drinking problem and a penchant for violence).

One day Ma gathers the boys and their belongings and runs away from their crazy life - to a local playground where she promptly, desperately, falls asleep.  The boys roam freely for hours until she awakens and, having no clue what to do or where to go next, they all return home defeated.

The book moves chronologically through the span of only a few years, in Torres' amazing prose, moving towards the narrator's adolescence and sexual awakening. He realizes that growing up and away from one's family is not only hard, but heartbreaking.

This book may not be for everyone, but it is so beautifully written it should be.

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

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