February 27, 2018

Drown by Junot Diaz | Book Review

Junot Diaz's Drown is a collection of ten short stories. It begins with Ysrael, a tale of two brothers who set out to track down a local kid whose mauled face is perpetually hidden behind a mask. In Fiesta a family poses a united front at a party despite the patriarchs' dirty secret. I couldn't make sense of the third story Aurora soooo that's that. In Aguantando a mother and her two sons endure the lengthy absence of the man of the house. In the titular story Drown an ambitious kid returns back to his poor neighborhood from college. His return dredges up feelings of inferiority and shame in the protagonist because of the two brief moments they experimented sexually. In Boyfriend the protagonist is infatuated with the beautiful girl, way out of his league, who lives upstairs. Edison, New Jersey is centered around an experience two boys have while on the job. How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl or Halfie is just like it sounds - an adolescent boy giving advice based on his limited repertoire of experiences. The story No Face takes us back to the mauled boy from the first short story. Negocios is the last short story and my favorite one of the entire collection. I like it because it finally addresses the constant absence of their dad who went away to America. It deals with the American Dream and the grand expectations of success and wealth that those of us from poorer nations carry with us as well as the realities of life in America.

I discovered Junot Diaz via two literary blogs I love. Read Diverse Books dedicated an entire month to celebrate, review and promote books by latin authors. Those series of blog posts by Naz Hernandez greatly inspired me to put in the work necessary for my current annual Black History Month literary celebration. Darkowaa's review of Junot's This Is How You Lose Her on her blog African Book Addict solidified my decision to give this author a shot. Drown is an underwhelming, unimpressive collection of short stories. There wasn't anything exciting in it for me. Junot's well celebrated though so I might give another one of his books a chance.
This is my third book pick for my literary celebration of Black History Month 2018. READ my review of Gabrielle Union's We're Going to Need More Wine and Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing


  1. Aww... I have Drown on my TBR. I'm kinda sad you didn't find it compelling. I'll still give the collection a try though. I wanna know what you think about 'This is How You Lose Her' too lol.

  2. I knowww... If I do follow up on Junot I'll let you know how it goes. I'll keep an eye out for your review of Drown. :)