Today I finished “Drown” by Junot Diaz. I had already read “The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” and absolutely loved it so I thought this would be a sure thing. I was right. I was more than right. I loved this book. In contrast to the plot driven momentum that drove me to keep reading ferociously with “The Hunger Games”, with this book I finished it in only two days because I was just so absorbed. The short stories transport you into a world that is completely foreign in every way, no pun intended. From race, time, and place I had never known these situations the characters are in but quickly felt I was living them too.
The writing style reminded me of “Jesus’ Son” by Denis Johnson. The characters may be genuinely unlikeable and their circumstances awful, but you’re not led into a pity party. Instead, you’re just introduced to their point of view and it sticks long after the book is finished. Sometimes I found myself rooting for them anyway, others, not so much–but I understood. Particularly with the father, I understood how things got to be the way they are but still didn’t particularly like him as a person.
Definitely a “reading for writers” sort of book.