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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

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Ugh

Horrible story. Good cautionary tale about teenage pregnancy. Save yourself 3+ hours and skip this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

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
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Very good

this was a very good book. From the start the story is very relatable to me.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

nothing special

this book was okay but nothing special. The author depicted a family in turmoil brothers that were closed but with parents that abused them. but then it all unraveled at the end and I didn't quite get the point of telling the story at all

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • S.
  • 08-01-18

Ends abruptly.

Story line was intriguing enough, but it just ends! no resolution, no wrapping up.....nada. What is with that??