We The Animals
By: Justin Torres
From the first page I fell in love with Torres’ book, We the Animals; a brilliantly chilling tale of the struggles of youth, Torres book is nothing short of amazing. It stands as an almost novella weighing in at some 125 pages, making this one a definite one-sit-read; all of which just makes it that much sweeter.
I picked up this book on March 02nd, at nine o’clock—maybe ten—and read till 11:30 P.M, taking a short break in between for a shower and a talk with my brother. Torres’ book is short enough to read on a long car ride, yet heavy enough to keep you stimulated for the hours after you’ve actually finished the book.
The book doesn’t perform any absolutes; it paints no picture of escape or freedom in any sort of concrete sense. There are no nicely ended narratives, where everyone gets what they deserve—where bad and good are triumphed over, and the main characters come out non-phased by the events. The book is heartbreaking, full of scars and broken promises; full of illusions and have-truths, it reads more like a jumble of mysteries and less like a linear narrative.
What’s more the depiction of what seems to be a queer youth growing up in the heavy masculine imposed environment shines through beautifully. Unlike other queer-related narratives, the central character does not find any absolution in the coming out story. This story is not his coming out story, it’s not ever meant to be; there is no family waiting around with tears-of-joy to embrace the life and love of their new found-family member. They grow distant, they grow a wedge between them; it shows the true reality of such things: it doesn’t lie to you.
I won’t sugar coat anything about this novel: buy it, rent it, borrow it from a friend, check it out at your library, buy it on kindle, download it for your kindle. Whatever you do, you must read it.