Thanks Monica, for this review of We Are Animals, which you can read here.
If you are an avid reader of this blog, you already know that I don’t read much contemporary fiction. I usually prefer fantasy or magical realism in my books but something about the description of this book caught my attention. I’m not big into travel so it wasn’t that element that got me but I think the fact that a chunk of the book is set in India did it for me. I am half Indian and hanging out with the OG Monika (my grandma from India) is one of my favorite pastimes. I think this book reminded me of the way she tells stories.
Some Things I Liked
- Seinfeld vibes. This is a weird comparison, I know, but hear me out. I loved the way the main character puts people into categories or buckets and he draws these interesting conclusions about them. For example, I loved the socks and detergent categories. Similarly, I loved the wacky situations that Manjan found himself in because of misunderstandings. His antics reminded me of any good episode of Seinfeld.
- A story of coincidences. I liked that the entire story revolved around coincidence. Characters would tell other characters stories and as the reader, you’d think, “that sounds familiar”, and it was familiar. Everyone seemed to know each other at one point or another in life. Some of the relationships were explained and other were left unaddressed. Overall, the story was about the way fate works in mysterious ways and I thought that was an interesting metaphor for life.
- Animals as characters. Another aspect of the story that I hadn’t really seen before was the use of animals as characters. I liked that they were personified as humans but there was no science fiction element to them.
One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About
- While I liked the writing style of this book, I’ll be honest and say it had a slow start. It took me a while to really understand some of the colloquialisms used by the narrator. Terms like “vest” and “mustache” are used freely in the beginning of the story and it took me a little while to fully grasp the meaning behind them.
I liked this book and I think there is potential for sequel or spin-off stories here. The ending is open-ended and there were numerous stories that were alluded to but not explained that could make fun short stories or side stories if the author wanted to expand on them.
This book was out of my comfort zone. I rarely read contemporary YA fiction and less often still, contemporary adult fiction but this was a welcome change. I found the characters engaging and I wanted to know more about them.