Book Report: We the Animals



I picked up We The Animals after a friend from college whose taste in reading is similar to mine recommended it. As predicted, it did not disappoint. I am a total sucker for coming of age stories and family sagas, so this book was exactly what I needed at the time.

This incredibly slim novel is fierce, vivid and so full of love and disappointment. We The Animals tells the story of a boy and his two brothers growing up in upstate New York with their violent yet charismatic Puerto Rican father and their heartbreaking and needy white mother. Set apart because of their mixed race, the brothers are a pack, a “we”. They are wild and destructive, and because their parents work nights free to roam around their rural town at all hours. They get in trouble, they cause trouble, they fight, they bleed, they cry and they grow up.

The novel’s short chapters play out like snapshots into this chaotic, unruly childhood. Fast-paced and both violent and tender, the brothers grow from rambunctious little boys to adolescents all the while coping with and being trapped inside their parent’s destructive marriage.

The writing is beautiful–so beautiful that I have read it twice in the past three months because I wanted to stay inside of it.