This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz

Photo source: Google images

Elizabeth FitzGibbons, Managing Editor

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz regards love, fidelity and betrayal. The narrator Yunior, is a good guy but
has difficulty remaining faithful. He is also featured in two of Díaz’s previous novels: Drown and pulitzer prize winning, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.”

The book is comprised of nine stories that intertwine, but can also stand alone. Most of the stories were originally
featured in the New Yorker, the first being published in 1999. Díaz spent sixteen years writing the book; it wasn’t until 2012 that it was published. In one story, “Otravida, Otravez” the narrator is not Yunior, but a woman, who gives a different perspective on the events of the book. Díaz has a way with flipping perspectives and shedding light on contrasting personas, as he has in past novels.

At first, Spanglish came to mind when I considered Díaz’s writing style. But, according to the New York Times
Sunday Review on the piece, I discovered that term “inapt” as it “implies a dominant perspective that all his work energetically counters… it fails to suggest the variety of vernaculars he can tap.” I would agree. Díaz writes in witty-slang and uses cultural sayings to create succinct-well crafted sentences and paragraphs that produce complex prose. However, his work is not difficult to read, and his writing is clear.

One topic of critique in Díaz’s work is misogyny, which I definitely saw in this book. He doesn’t develop his female
character well in comparison to Yunior, and as a result, she seems secondary. Nonetheless, the book is interesting and packed with emotion, enough so that the matter becomes insignificant. Díaz’s writing has the ability, as the New York Times puts it, to “not only to make you laugh, but to wince with pain,” and this is wonderful.

This is How You Lose Her is really great, and it’s a short read too. I would recommend it to any high-schooler who
wants to venture out of their required reading or personal taste into something they likely haven’t encountered before. The book is funny and entertaining, and I would say if you have the time (or don’t) you should consider it. Again it’s not long, and you can choose to engage in only a chapter or two if you want.