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2015 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: Task 6 - THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER by Junot Diaz

BooksKristina PinoComment

On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In the heat of a hospital laundry room in New Jersey, a woman does her lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness--and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses: artistic Alma; the aging Miss Lora; Magdalena, who thinks all Dominican men are cheaters; and the love of his life, whose heartbreak ultimately becomes his own.

In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, the stories in This Is How You Lose Her lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that “the half-life of love is forever.”

I'm trying to catch up with my reading challenge progress here, so I'm posting this after I've already finished reading the book. I don't tend to read a lot of short story collections - I've only ever managed to finish a few in my adult life. I picked this one up because it felt like a no-pressure way to dip into Diaz's writing/storytelling style before maybe picking up a novel.

I enjoyed this collection overall. It appeals to me because I'm familiar with much of the cultural and social background the characters came from, I understand the language, and I've (mostly) gotten over my aversion to "unlikeable" (and/or unreliable) characters/narrators. Yunior is awful (though I did feel sad for him in the end), but the stories are wonderful. In the end, I love that the stories were connected in more ways than one. I think that's what sealed it for me, because I'm the type of person who prefers spinoffs over sequels. The story with this guy is clear from the beginning, but I love getting all the filler and background.