Okay, now I’ve had my first Junot Diaz Experience. (It’s only a matter of time before someone cries foul with all this audiobook/story/pod reliance on my part. To you I somnolently say: 80 hour work week!) I see the goodness that is Diaz. This is a great piece, deceptively simple, but he nails it completely, doesn’t he? So matter of fact, so conversational; so revealing. I’ll be pulling Drown from the shelf and adding it to the pile.
The chat after the story noted how some audiences reacted harshly to the story. There’s always a few readers who can’t separate the story from the author. (In some rare cases, this is true of the author himself.) It seems silly, getting angry at Diaz because he nails all the details of being a teenager so well. Angry at him for being a good writer? Should he write about sensitive pony-tail men? Being Maine White Bread, I obviously can’t say I see myself in the story, but he gets the mood of the story so perfectly – it took me back to the later high school days of pool halls and "Rocket Queen" on the jukebox and misguided adventures with Westbrook girls. First beers, confusion about the opposite sex, the whole bit.
The audio version has the amusing benefit of a woman reading the women’s dialog. I think it puts the story in a different light – actually having the female’s voice in there, whereas reading it you’d more likely get it in Yunior’s voice, as he’s narrating the story. I’ll have to read it and get back to you.
And wouldn’t you know it: I finish listening to the podcast and decide to scan through the FM band, and there you have it: "Sweet Child O’ Mine." I’m pleased to report that my tiny mp3 player does, in fact, go to eleven.