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Thoughts on This Is How You Lose Her

December 16, 2012

This Is How You Lose Her

I think the world would be a dull place if everyone in it were the same.  I love to read because reading allows me to explore other cultures and ideas so I was excited to pick up This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz, a novel about Yunior, a young Dominican immigrant.  Yunior’s story is told through a series of inter-connected stories, most of which are narrated by Yunior.  This book has received a lot of praise from the critics – Time Magazine named it one 2012′s best works of fiction – but the book just wasn’t for me.  I think maybe I’m just too old and too uptight for it.

Yunior loves women, but struggles to remain faithful to them.  He has done pretty well for himself, but can’t seem to leave his past behind.  Under most circumstances, Yunior is exactly the type of character I like to read about, but for some reason, I struggled with this book.  Maybe it was the crude language and vulgar scenes or maybe it was the overall grittiness, I’m not sure.  Several of the stories are told from the second person point of view and that bothered me as well.

I listened to the audio version of This Is How You Lose Her and wonder if I would have enjoyed it more in print – for some reason language, etc doesn’t bother me as much visually as it does verbally.   The audio is narrated by the author and he does an adequate job.  The audio version is on 5 CDs and lasts approximately 5 hours.

Since so many critics have loved this book, I feel sure that I missed something when I read it.  If it sounds at all interesting to you, you should give it a try.

Review copy provided by Penguin Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
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26 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2012 6:46 am

    I have avoided this book for exactly the reasons you didn’t like it: rumors of crude language, vulgar scenes, and overall grittiness! But I also agree that hearing it is worse than seeing it! LOL! Too old and uptight DEFINITELY describes ME but I’m sure those qualities in a book don’t appeal even to many young non-uptight people. But that’s why there can be so many books and as you say that way the world is more interesting!

  2. December 16, 2012 9:20 am

    I don’t really care for books with crude language, especially if it does not lend anything to the story. Thanks for your review. I don’t think I’ll read this book.

  3. December 16, 2012 12:04 pm

    I’m like you, Kathy. I can’t tolerate bad language, violence, rape scenes etc. on audio books, although it’s okay if it’s written down….it’s somewhat less disturbing. I have seen a lot of reviews that were on the fence regarding this book, so I guess it’s also a general feeling about reviewers, and probably the audio is not the only reason you didn’t enjoy it.

  4. December 16, 2012 12:18 pm

    I had mixed feelings on this book too. I enjoyed the immersion into a culture different from my own, however, I often felt lost amid the slang and street language and didn’t care for a lot of the crude expressions. I can handle vulgar words as part of the story, but many of the crude expression were directed towards the women and that made me uncomfortable. And maybe that was the point. I don’t know. Not sure what the critics saw either. But I like to read fiction for entertainment and try not to over think any of it.

  5. December 16, 2012 12:21 pm

    I haven’t even been tempted to read this book because of what I heard about it. Your review simply reinforces the impression that this one is definitely not for me.

  6. December 16, 2012 12:26 pm

    Too bad your didn’t enjoy this. I hope your next read is more to your liking. ;-)

  7. December 16, 2012 12:41 pm

    Thanks for the good review. As I’ve gotten older, my ability to handle crude profanity and immoral behavior without moral insight has dwindled. I will definitely avoid this one.

  8. December 16, 2012 2:10 pm

    I’ve avoided this one as well for many reasons you mention here.

  9. December 16, 2012 2:24 pm

    Oh boy…you are reading some tough ones lately!

  10. sandynawrot permalink
    December 16, 2012 2:26 pm

    I have this one, but have yet to upload it. Vulgarity generally doesn’t bother me, but if it is gratuitous and doesn’t add anything, I just get annoyed. But it is only 5 discs, so what the hey.

  11. December 16, 2012 3:14 pm

    Bummer… that would be a turn off for me as well. The book I am reading now is not as awesome as I had hoped for the same reason.

  12. December 16, 2012 3:51 pm

    Did you read Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao? I think part of the reason I liked this one so much was that I kind of knew what kind of themes/language to expect already from that novel. I could see it being off-putting if you’re not looking for it.

  13. December 16, 2012 5:41 pm

    I’m actually quite interested in reading this one, but I have heard about its vulgar writing and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

  14. bookingmama permalink
    December 16, 2012 5:44 pm

    It was gritty and I’m not sure I related to Yunior either, but I thought the writing was excellent. I also enjoyed the short stories and how they tied together..

  15. therelentlessreader permalink
    December 16, 2012 6:32 pm

    This one wasn’t for me either. I was bummed because it was one of the critics darlings this year. Ah well, to each their own :)

  16. December 16, 2012 7:30 pm

    Nope, definitely not for me.

  17. December 16, 2012 7:35 pm

    As much praise as this book has received, I’m a little scared to read this. I have both the print and the audiobook. You’ve confirmed for me that print is the way to go. I want more out of an audiobook than adequate narration. I enjoy listening to him speak, but he doesn’t come off as someone with natural narrating abilities.

  18. December 16, 2012 9:30 pm

    I’m going to try his Oscar Wao book first I think.

  19. December 17, 2012 10:02 am

    I think a lot of people struggle with his books. I tried to read Oscar Wao and could not get into it at all.

  20. December 17, 2012 4:03 pm

    I read the first chapter and then quit because of the grittiness that you mentioned.

  21. December 17, 2012 6:20 pm

    When ‘critics’ love something, I usually stay clear of it!! :D Pretty sure that this isn’t my usual fare so I would have given up on it altogether.

  22. December 17, 2012 8:20 pm

    I think I’d have a harder time with the harsh language on audio. I cringe when I hear people letting loose a litany of swears on the train!

  23. December 17, 2012 9:09 pm

    Not for me! I do like it when the author reads his own work though.

  24. December 19, 2012 3:40 pm

    I have this on my desk too, but now I’m not so sure I want to listen to it. When it comes to crude language, I’m like you – I don’t like to hear it. But – in print my eyes skip over it easily. I read for the same reasons you do. I enjoy meeting people and visiting places I’d never get a chance to in real life. But that means I have to occasionally experience things like this that are not comfortable for me. It’s okay because it’s all part of the experience. I think I just talked myself into reading this book!

  25. swright9 permalink
    December 19, 2012 9:30 pm

    I’m glad you warned me off of this one. It doesnt like one for me either. thx

  26. December 29, 2012 8:55 pm

    “. . . too old and too uptight . . .” LOL I’d probably be in the same boat. ;)

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