When I first read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, I fell in love as I turned the pages; not only with Junot Diaz’s writing style but of his accurate telling of a story that could have happened to so many of us.
By “us”, I mean Caribbean People.
It’s hard to find a writer now-a-days that would even venture onto the topics that we endeavor to sweep under the carpet in Caribbean house holds so when I heard about This is How You Lose Her, I was sprung all over again.
Like Drown, this book is about Yunior who we first meet as the room mate to the protagonist in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Yunior is a proud, inadvertent sucio and his story was not unlike others that I’d witnessed in my own life. The book is written as a compilation of short stories within one book with a chapter for every girl.
The first chapter title being; The Sun, the Moon and the Stars; the story of Magda and ending with The Cheater’s Guide to love where he tells the story based (maybe loosely) on the relationship and then subsequent one sided relationship he had with his Fiancee.
While many may see it as a true Cheater’s Guide to love because he describes with great detail all of the missteps Yunior made with women, I also see it as the ultimate description of how different each individual love could be and how sometimes we pass that up in search of something that we can not identify within ourselves.
Yunior’s story is one shared by many men and women who go through a lot of changes as they search for love, acceptance and hope in another person. It also shows how the way you were brought up greatly colors the way you interact with the opposite sex even if you don’t realize it.
A lot of the time, Yunior’s own critical thinking would give it away. He knew he was a man whore but idolized the end game as well and the unfortunate thing that most don’t realize that Yunior eventually did is that you can’t be both. Something will give and at some point, grand gestures of apology and expensive gifts will not be enough to even have someone return your phone call.
Yunior is a more the tragic anti hero in this, you can’t help but love him, understand him and want what’s best for him but you have to admit he’s made a lot of terrible decisions and hurt a lot of feelings along the way.
This is How You Lose Her cements Junot Diaz as a literary great in my mind. He’s my modern day V.S. Naipaul. It’s an amazing addition to my library and a book you know you’ll read again.