In the city of Houston – a sprawling, diverse microcosm of America – the son of a black mother and a Latino father is coming of age. He’s working at his family’s restaurant, weathering his brother’s blows, resenting his older sister’s absence. And discovering he likes boys.
This boy and his family experience the tumult of living in the margins, the heartbreak of ghosts, and the braveries of the human heart. The stories of others living and thriving and dying across Houston’s myriad neighborhoods are woven throughout to reveal a young woman’s affair detonating across an apartment complex, a rag-tag baseball team, a group of young hustlers, the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a local drug dealer who takes a Guatemalan teen under his wing, and a reluctant chupacabra.
What a poignant and raw, emotional collection of voices. Lot is a short story assembly championing Black and Latinx working class voices, discussing racism, poverty, family, friendship and relationships. The stories felt strong, powerful and honest, really packing a punch.
All of the narrators were men, which I found really interesting but I actually really enjoyed. I thought this was a great way to highlight toxic masculinity and the spotlight men can be put under in certain situations, and how harmful this can be. I felt really grateful for how this was portrayed in the narration.
Your eyes will show you what they want to
This book felt alive, the narrators were brutal and had me gasping at times, and I felt like I was breathing alongside the men I was reading about, living their stories alongside them. It really captured me. I liked the short story aspect, and the narrators changing occasionally kept me on my toes, however I did enjoy coming back to the same narrator. I thought it was really inventive to read about the same stories of people in the same neighbourhood.
My biggest problem with this book was the lack of connection to the narrators. I’m unsure whether this was due to the short stories meaning we spent a fairly short amount of time with them, or something to do with not knowing their names or a lot about their lives, only seeing rough snippets and not much more. But the lack of connection ended up meaning a lot to me and changed my viewpoint of the book a lot.
or whatever they think you should see.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this book despite feeling distant from the characters themselves. It felt hard hitting and important, and it was unfortunate I felt like I was almost listening to these stories underwater – I just wish I could have felt more connected to them.
3 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽