DROWN by Junot Diaz

Love this book. It’s the first installation of Yunior’s narrative, a collection of stories that cover him as a kid, as a teen, plus stuff about his mother and father and brother. There’s also a story of a masked kid in DR whose face had been bitten off by a pig when he was young and another about the impossibility of fixing the face. In that way, really it’s a book about freedom (or not)–the struggle to become Americanized, the promise of going back home to try and free more people. It’s about men disappointing women and families alike. Everyone just scrambling to survive. Dating bad people, working odd jobs. I remember hearing Junot Diaz say he was annoyed that people paid dirt to the title story “Drown” perhaps because it included confusing gay stuff. But that kind of willful avoidance on the audience’s part does suit the nature of the book.

Best line: “I’m here on my own. I got two hands and a heart as strong as a rock.”

-Rachel Wagner 2020

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