This review should be much easier to write than my last for one simple reason: I hated this book. Absolutely loathed it. First, let’s deal with the plot (or should I say “plot”). Also, please be warned that I’m about to curse a lot, because seriously fuck this book.
This is How You Lose Her is a collection of short stories revolving around Yunior (except, inexplicably, one story involving a woman named Yasmeen who has absolutely no connection to any other character). Yunior is a young Dominican man living in New York City and he opens by defensively telling us he’s really not a bad guy, he’s just misunderstood. The stories that follow revolve around the relationships he has with the women in his life, which seem to be mostly negative. There isn’t a woman he dates that Yunior doesn’t cheat on, sometimes spectacularly – he cheats on one girlfriend with 50 girls, and yet he insists that he’s a decent guy. Basically what I gathered is that this book is about what a dick Yunior is, and how in denial he is about that fact that he is a total dick.
I know a lot of people love this one, and it won the Pulitzer (which is becoming increasingly meaningless to me as I hated the last Pulitzer winner I read, too. I’m looking at you A Visit from the Goon Squad), but hear me out. People read books for many reasons, and my primary reason is escapism. This takes many forms for me and I enjoy a variety of different genres, settings, and characters but one thing that I absolutely need is a character to sympathize with or root for. I work in a field that deals with the particularly nasty side of humanity and if I want to see assholes being assholes, all I have to do is go to work, I don’t need it in my literature. It’s the reason I can’t stand stupid Holden Caulfield and his privileged whining, and it’s the reason I hated this book. Yunior is a little shit, selfish and manipulative and needy, constantly causing hurt to those around him. If there were a side character to mitigate his behavior I might have enjoyed it more, but the women in this book are laughably one dimensional and the other guys we are introduced to are at least on the same level as Yunior with their ass-hattery, sometimes even beyond him. This book also follows Yunior a bit later into his life, in his 30s and 40s and guess what? Dude still hasn’t learned his damn lesson and then whines because he’s lonely and unsuccessful. WHOSE FAULT IS THAT, YUNIOR? I just can’t with him.
I could say more, but it’s probably best for my sanity and blood pressure if I stop my ranting there. If I could negatively star this book, I totally would.