Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Expl!c!t & Enj#y@ble.

Ahhhhhh Junot Diaz.  His bit on "How to Date" was a refreshing read.  Not because I thrill in lavish vulgarity, but because I love the straightforward language he uses, as well as other tactics he employs.  

Come to think of it, I'm going to make a list here:

1.  I love the way Diaz assumes a juvenile writing style.  It makes his latino (I assume), teenage character come to life in the most tangible way.  
2.  Diaz doesn't hold back the language for the sake of euphemism.  Why would a teenage boy from the  shanties of a city ever hold his tongue while his mother is away?  I can't think of one good reason. 
3.  He never gives names to the characters described in the passage.  But that didn't stop me from giving them.  
  • First is our dashing lad, Miguel.  His name is the third-most popular Latino name since 1930, according to Mexican records. (Don't look that up.) 
  • Second comes the chick from around the block.  Silvia.  Her mom has a white friend who named her baby that, so.  She thought it was a good one for cultural crossover, while staying true to her Latino heritage.  
  • Shaleesa Von Brown named herself.  Black chick from the hood didn't like her given  name LaToya, because her best friend has the same name, and is now with Shaleesa's ex-boyfriend Jerome. Hookin' up with Miguel is her unofficial rebound. 
  • Ashley (is white.)
    • Why I felt the need to write that parenthetical statement, I don't know.
4.  When he talks about listening to the girl tell the story of her parents' scandalous courtship, Miguel instructs you to Put down your hamburger and say, It must have been hard. Diaz has truly tapped into the attempting-to-be-sentimental mindset of a hormone-driven, teenage boy. 
5.  I love that he doesn't use proper punctuation, and pluralizes moms
6.  His infusion of Spanish vocabulary immediately clues you into the author's authentic Latino background. Malcriado. Tia. 
7.  He wants to ask the girl how she feels about Dominicans, but he doesn't. So we ask, "Is he Dominican?"

Well.  If I enumerated the entire list here, it would be bullet-pointed lines I love, and why I loved them. There's something truly poetic about the honest confession of a character: fictional or real


  1. This was hilarious to me, also I agree with every point on your list (aside from the names, of course) and I loved your use of Clueless. Very fitting.

  2. Rollin' with the homies... Oh my word. I remember that movie all too well.

  3. The dude is Yunior, and you can read more about his adventures in Drown. (Thank you, Wikipedia!)

    Context is so important to understanding texts. I read moms as in two lesbian moms! Times have certainly changed in two decades.

    Your image choice is sooo perfect because Clueless was released in 1995 ...

    And so was this story! Excellent choice for putting his work into cultural context.,_White_Girl,_or_Halfie)

  4. I love gritty art, which is what this is. Gritty=real for many people and I think Diaz knew that when he was writing.