Customer Reviews for

We the Animals

Average Rating 4
( 69 )
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5 Star

(32)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(5)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Out Of We Came Me

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the slim volume of We the Animals by Justin Torres. How was it going to live up to the high praise; how forceful and convincing can a story be that ends when other similar books are just getting started on their storytelling journ...
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the slim volume of We the Animals by Justin Torres. How was it going to live up to the high praise; how forceful and convincing can a story be that ends when other similar books are just getting started on their storytelling journey? But, as the saying goes - good things come in small packages and I was enthralled by this amazing debut novel. Torres wastes no time getting the reader engaged and committed to his tale. We the Animals tells the story through a series of vignettes of three brothers growing up in upstate New York. The story is narrated by the youngest brother as an adult looking back on his childhood. It is through his eyes we experience the brothers' adventures, the turbulent marriage of his parents - a white mother and Puerto-Rican father, and the eventual coming-of-age of the narrator as an "I" instead of a "We."

Torres provides an intimate portrait of a family in crisis set against the restraints imposed by themselves and society. While reading I felt like I was looking through a family album with the narrator and at each picture he stopped and told me the story behind the snapshot. Each story portrays the pain and love in their lives, as they struggled to make sense of who they were in the world, how to they take what is dished out to them and what does survival look like. The most painful stories were those where a situation started out as a joyous event, but an ugly twist soon ends the happiness. The narrator patiently, in an aching yet lovely voice, takes you from how he was a full "we" with his brothers - all for one and one for all, to his budding realization that he just might not be the same as his brothers and informs us, "They smell my difference - my sharp, pansy scent." This keeps building until a single event at the end is in many ways the culmination of the trauma, hurt and love the family feels for each other, yet they each know their world will never be the same again.

We the Animals is a forceful debut that will invade your thoughts long after you have read the last word, as the author's storytelling is spellbinding. The portrayal of the household that is intense, chaotic, and loud is set by the controlled tone of narrative, and this provides grace to the dark lyrical prose.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy the structure of language to tell a story.

This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

Reviewed by Beverly
APOOO Literary Book Review

posted by beachlover20855 on October 20, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Weird Ending

Most books are a good story and the author drops the ball when writing the ending. This is not the case here. There is a weird twist I won't give away, but the book takes an unexpected turn that I still have not wrapped my brain around. I still haven't decided if I like...
Most books are a good story and the author drops the ball when writing the ending. This is not the case here. There is a weird twist I won't give away, but the book takes an unexpected turn that I still have not wrapped my brain around. I still haven't decided if I like the ending yet. Maybe that is a good thing because books rarely make you think anymore....

posted by 10569563 on March 7, 2012

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 69 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 4
  • Posted October 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Out Of We Came Me

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the slim volume of We the Animals by Justin Torres. How was it going to live up to the high praise; how forceful and convincing can a story be that ends when other similar books are just getting started on their storytelling journey? But, as the saying goes - good things come in small packages and I was enthralled by this amazing debut novel. Torres wastes no time getting the reader engaged and committed to his tale. We the Animals tells the story through a series of vignettes of three brothers growing up in upstate New York. The story is narrated by the youngest brother as an adult looking back on his childhood. It is through his eyes we experience the brothers' adventures, the turbulent marriage of his parents - a white mother and Puerto-Rican father, and the eventual coming-of-age of the narrator as an "I" instead of a "We."

    Torres provides an intimate portrait of a family in crisis set against the restraints imposed by themselves and society. While reading I felt like I was looking through a family album with the narrator and at each picture he stopped and told me the story behind the snapshot. Each story portrays the pain and love in their lives, as they struggled to make sense of who they were in the world, how to they take what is dished out to them and what does survival look like. The most painful stories were those where a situation started out as a joyous event, but an ugly twist soon ends the happiness. The narrator patiently, in an aching yet lovely voice, takes you from how he was a full "we" with his brothers - all for one and one for all, to his budding realization that he just might not be the same as his brothers and informs us, "They smell my difference - my sharp, pansy scent." This keeps building until a single event at the end is in many ways the culmination of the trauma, hurt and love the family feels for each other, yet they each know their world will never be the same again.

    We the Animals is a forceful debut that will invade your thoughts long after you have read the last word, as the author's storytelling is spellbinding. The portrayal of the household that is intense, chaotic, and loud is set by the controlled tone of narrative, and this provides grace to the dark lyrical prose.

    I recommend this book to readers who enjoy the structure of language to tell a story.

    This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

    Reviewed by Beverly
    APOOO Literary Book Review

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 13, 2011

    Poweful...exquisitely written.

    The story of three brothers as told from one brother's point of view. But what truly grabbed me was the writing. Justin Torres writes so beautifully. Not a single word is wasted. I would read paragraphs over again just because I loved the language so much. The story is so emotional and the ending will take your breath away.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 4, 2011

    Read it!

    Unusual and stunning. The usual descriptors don't apply. Read it. It's a quick, compelling evening of reading after which you'll look up amazed at what you've experienced.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2012

    Packs a punch!

    This is an intense little book. After I read the last page and closed the cover, it felt like thunder had just gone off overhead.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2011

    Worth Reading

    I was consummed by the pages and heartbroken after each event. I found myself cheering the "boys" on only to be let down by one of the parents. I wanted it to end. I did not want it to end. This book made me feel like a good parent by the time I finished.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Torres manages to inject beauty into what would otherwise be, a dark, depressing little book about love and neglect and growing-up male.

    I had mixed feelings with this one. I was impressed by its fierceness. It's brutal and honest and the images that Torres creates are unforgettable. He definitely has a way with words and it's obvious to me, that he poured a lot of himself into these boys when creating these characters. But, the format of the novel is not like traditional novels. It's really a collection of vignettes and one of the things that I noticed right off, is that as soon as I found myself fully absorbed, Torres moves on to the next scene which left me sitting there, wanting more. This is a debut novel for Torres and it was beautifully written and parts of it literally made my heart ache, but I feel as if he experimented a bit with what to include and what not to include and perhaps it was too lean. At just 144 pages, I think he had room to not only scratch the surface, but really give us a feel for his narrator as the story is told from the youngest brother's point of view. This is one of those instances where the writing won me over. Although the structure of it didn't work for me, I was taken with the prose and I had no trouble appreciating the amount of work that went into constructing each, and every sentence. Broken apart, each sentence could stand on its own, which made it almost like reading a poem, if that makes any sense at all. In the end, I would absolutely read another novel by Torres and I'm glad that I had a chance to experience his writing.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An Emotionally Challenging Novel is Here...

    We the Animals is a coming-of-age story like nothing I've ever read before. It is sometimes shocking, sometimes funny, heartwarming and maybe even a little scary because of how it affects you on such a personal level.
    Three boys, raising hell in Brooklyn, following in the footsteps of passionate parents, doing everything they can think of, making chaos, loving fiercely.
    It almost felt like I was a peeping-Tom into the window of someone's very private family life. Sometimes I wondered what motivated them, then that was answered in the next breath as they held tight to each other.
    The book is not very long. You can easily read it in a day. Don't think you can skim it though because it is too emotionally electrifying to be able to just skim over pages. Every page is important. Every word. Justin Torres seems charming and full of life and perhaps a little innocent.
    This book is for anyone who wants to be challenged to think about family ties and how our early years affect us.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    Weird Ending

    Most books are a good story and the author drops the ball when writing the ending. This is not the case here. There is a weird twist I won't give away, but the book takes an unexpected turn that I still have not wrapped my brain around. I still haven't decided if I like the ending yet. Maybe that is a good thing because books rarely make you think anymore....

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2012

    Anonymous

    I just paid $10 for 89 pages of NOTHING. This was NOT listed as a SHORT story. What a RIP OFF! I am outraged, I want my money BACK. This was a horribly written story about about a horribly disfunctional family. There is no plot, no storyline, the characters definitely not likable. It was really.hard to follow the story, just a bunch of fumbling, mumbeling bunch of people with absolutely no purpose in life. I think all those 5 stars and raving reviews came from family and friends. Justin Torrres may think he is in with the the big league authors, but he doesn't even come close. Not when he doesn't have a style to his writing, it's choppy and unsmooth and definitely does not have a way with words, except the vulgar ones. If I could give ZERO stars I would!
    I'll say it again WHAT A RIP OFF! Justin Torres should be ashamed of himself. $10 for a few lousy pages. Unbelievable!
    Readers beware.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2012

    Completely meretricious.

    Basically, this book isn't much more than "The Jerry Springer Show" condensed into a novella. If you enjoy seeing children physically and sexually abused and can't stand plot or character development, then this book is up your alley. Bonus! Four out of the five rave reviews on the back cover were written by Torres's creative writing teachers--if you don't believe me, look at the acknoledgements.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Amazing

    Even though i have not read the book it looks amazing -M

    1 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2011

    Very disappointed

    I was anticipating this book as I had heard a good review and an interview with the author. I found it to be trite and I read it to the last page waiting for something to draw me in, either with emotion or with craft but I found nothing to recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2011

    I was disappointed.

    I was disappointed with this book. I ordered it because of a glowing review on NPR. I read the book; but wished I had tried to check it out of the public library instead. I have deleted the Nook Book from my Nook library.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2011

    Original

    Well written, heartbreaking story

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2014

    Anonymous

    I don't know what to think of this book. The one thing I am certain, is that it is similar to The Bluest Eye. It was an okay read with lots of events that kept the plot interesting and urged me to keep reading. The author does an amazing job in telling the story of this family

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  • Posted February 13, 2014

    Beautifully writing, like a poem. I savored the language and was

    Beautifully writing, like a poem. I savored the language and was swept up by the way it opened like a flower, revealing itself bit by bit. More, Mr. Torres, more!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2014

    Not worth the time

    The heading says it all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2014

    Words. Empty. Flat.

    What a terrible ending. And I don't mean in terms of a gripping ending. It was nonsensical; flat; ugly. The descriptions were not even human like. Just ugly words that told no story in the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2014

    Short and pointless

    I would not have purchased had I known it was a short story!
    The description should have made that clear. The writing was choppy and the ending was horrible.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    It is horible

    I hate it. if i could do 0/5 stars i would do that

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 69 Customer Reviews
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