We the Animals by Justin Torres

we the animals justin torresJustin Torres' We the Animals is an interesting little volume. Emphasis on little -- it clocks in at only 144 pages.

Three brothers tear their way through childhood -- almost literally. There is something about the brothers that is familiar. They were left to fend for themselves, with little adult supervision, and it made them a bit rough and wild. It also made gave them a certain confidence, or perhaps a cockiness. Their parents loved them but their love for the boys was much like their love for each other -- dark and occasionally violent. It was all that they knew.

Don't let the length of the book fool you into thinking that We the Animals is a light book. It is not. It's disturbing in parts but Torres manages to balance that with writing that is also beautiful. Like many people who have read We the Animals, I felt like the transition from child to young adult was a bit jarring and could have used a few more chapters to help the reader get there.

This is Torres' first book and I look forward to seeing what he can do with a longer piece of fiction.