It’s everything Dominican and Caribbean to a great extent.
“This Is How You Lose Her” by Junot Diaz, a Dominican writer, comprises nine related vignettes (I’m not too sure about how one of the stories is related) told in a non-linear fashion, about a Dominican family’s emigration to New Jersey in the United States.
There is a “side story” – Otravida Otravez , about another Dominican immigrant Yasmin, a hospital laundry worker, who is in a relationship with a married man. The paramour, Ramon has a family back in the Dominican Republic, including a devoted wife who writes to him frequently.
The protagonist is Yunior and the stories detail his family’s arrival to, and struggles in, the United States, typical of the Angolo-Caribbean experience as well.
In the last chronicle, “The Cheater’s Guide to Love”, it tells us about another of Yunior’s “Lost Loves”, whilst he was attending university in Boston.
Yunior’s father arranged for the family to migrate from the Dominican Republic to the USA and whilst he takes care of them materially, he is not there for them emotionally and mentally. This story is titled, “Invierno” as the family arrived in the US during the harsh winter weather unable to speak a word of English.
The father is physically and verbally abusive to Yunior and his brother, Rafa, who succumbs to cancer as an adult. Papi is unfaithful and verbally abusive to his wife who he doesn’t think is capable of learning English. He doesn’t like Yunior’s Afro hair texture and has his head shaved. Rafa is the one with the “pelo bueno”.
Yunior becomes a serial cheater but at the same time he has a weak character as he is unable to deal with each episode of “Losing Her”. He becomes emotionally unstable when his lovers/sex partners leave.
Yunior doesn’t seem to discriminate in his conquests. He has an affair with a high school teacher and neighbor, Lora and this is whilst he was a teenager. Lora does not physically fit the mold of a typical Latina.
Overall, “This Is How You Lose Her” is an easy read if you are not offended by raw strong language, and narratives which can be deemed to be misogynistic, sacrilegious and downright bombastic.
It is speculated that this book is an autobiography.
I would give this book a 4 out of 5 rating.
This Is How You Lose Her “ was the book chosen for March, in the Caribbean Book Club.
The CBC is a virtual book club which meets monthly (the third Sunday) to discuss a selected book. Other than that, the first Sunday of every month is dedicated to Poetry and the second is BYOB.
Here is the link to join: