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Publisher's Summary

An exquisite, blistering debut novel.

Three brothers tear their way through childhood—smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from trash, hiding out when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off her graveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklyn—he’s Puerto Rican, she’s white—and their love is a serious, dangerous thing that makes and unmakes a family many times.

Life in this family is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and the euphoria of belonging completely to one another. From the intense familial unity felt by a child to the profound alienation he endures as he begins to see the world, this beautiful novel reinvents the coming-of-age story in a way that is sly and punch-in-the-stomach powerful.

Written in magical language with unforgettable images, this is a stunning exploration of the viscerally charged landscape of growing up, how deeply we are formed by our earliest bonds, and how we are ultimately propelled at escape velocity toward our futures.

©2011 Justin Torres (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"We the Animals is a dark jewel of a book. It’s heartbreaking. It’s beautiful. It resembles no other book I’ve read. We should all be grateful for Justin Torres, a brilliant, ferocious new voice." (Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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    39
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Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    27
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    13
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Story

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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    35
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Stefan
  • San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 11-02-11

Brilliant!

This beautifully crafted novel is written with amazing authenticity, and delivers a powerful and complex coming of age story. The rhythmic texture and emotional force of the text are well suited to the audible format and nicely narrated.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Bryan
  • Syracuse, NY, United States
  • 11-21-11

Moving!

Justin Torres has written a great, illuminating story that is well narrated by Frankie J. Alvarez. "We the Animals" is very moving and I found myself overcome with emotion. All I could manage to say was "wow."

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Did not catch my interest

I felt the story was sometimes hard to follow regarding what was going on, like trying to decipher poetry. And at no point did the story really grab my attention. I was surprised regarding the ending but don't see how the story supported it. I didn't connect with the characters, they all kind of annoyed me. I finished the book because it was chosen for book club but I didn't enjoy it at any point.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

We are all Animals!

Rambunctious, noisy, boisterous, hungry, or simply just being adolescent, that makes you one of the animals. Be different, you will be a cast away, adrift, alone, left by your families, no longer be part of the pack. Dark lyrical prose to fine storytelling, we are all animals.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • David
  • STAMFORD, CT, United States
  • 07-31-16

A change in focus

This novel, which reads more like a memoir, begins with a wonderful tale of three rambunctious boys, fighting and causing trouble and trying to figure out their weird mother and financially strapped and sometimes absent father. Then, two thirds of the way through, the focus shifts to the narrator's self-discovery as he grows up. His differences separate him from his older brothers, which is downplayed but sad.

The novel is beautifully written, with a gritty realistic feel throughout, even in some of the less credible scenes. The characters are lively and likeable, often when they are being mean or irresponsible. As the narrator grows up, his writing becomes more poetic.

Frankie J. Alvarez does a good job with the narration.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Disappointing

Started out very good, well written but then just fell apart, no relevant transition, very choppy

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I want my credit back!

I think it would have been more accurate description to have explained this is about a gay man. I was very uncomfortable listening to the episode of him watching child porn with a neighbor or when he goes to the bus station as a teenager to have sex with strangers. And the childhood stories are often sad and disturbing. I suppose it is a thought provoking story but not a very enjoyable one. I wouldn't have gotten this if the description better represented the actual book.

8 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Poor story

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Better story. If it had not been short I would not have finished it.

What do you think your next listen will be?

1Q84

What about Frankie J. Alvarez???s performance did you like?

He sounded like a young boy.

You didn???t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No

Any additional comments?

Maybe I didn't understand it but there seemed to be not point to the story or else I missed it. I don't like to read about the sordid way some people live.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful