This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz is a raunchy, explicit book that isn’t for the weak. Díaz digs deep with this collection of short stories to create Yunior, a problematic Dominican that only knows how to hurt the ones he loves. Díaz explores everything from race to love to brokenness to self-loathing to depict the issues Dominican men usually face when it comes to relationships.
What’s special about this work of art is how realistic it comes across. Throughout the entire novel, you keep hoping that Yunior will get his act together but when he keeps doing the same things like lying and cheating on the girls he supposedly loves, you begin to understand that Yunior’s issues run deeper than just women.
The voice in the novel is strong and pleasant to read despite how vulgar the rhetoric can be. Díaz has mastered the use of second person and makes the reader feel as though they are Yunior or at least have been put inside his shoes, which makes it even more frustrating when he keeps taking two steps back in personal growth.
Each short story is told through the perspective of Yunior except for one. ‘Otravida Otravez’ is told through the point-of-view of Yasmin. She is trying to survive in America as a Dominican immigrant. She survives by washing sheets and by being cared for by her older boyfriend. Her story explores her longing for love and to be financially stable and secure in America.
Díaz does an excellent job of showcasing the struggles of the Dominican community especially with its men. To showcase the stories of more men aside from Yunior, the story also talks about Rafa, Yunior’s brother. He’s a known womanizer who struggles with cancer. He rebels by marrying a woman his mother doesn’t approve of.
The family that Díaz creates is not a pretty one; in fact, they’re quite the opposite. The mother is overworked, the father is absent, the brother has cancer, and Yunior is engulfed in a sea of women that he feels as though he’s programmed to hurt but something tells him it isn’t right.
As the stories build, it becomes apparent that Yunior wants to be better in his treatment of women. After the loss of each girl, he seems to reflect more on his past relationships. The change we see in Yunior is small and gradual, it doesn’t completely happen by the end of the book.
Díaz vividly adds to the discussion of how some Dominican men build their relationships on adultery and lies. He gives us Yunior to show that change is possible and that the mistreatment of women can end.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars