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This Is How You Lose Her (Diaz) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

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Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for This Is How You Lose Her:

1. What do you think of Yunior—how would you describe him? Do you find him sympathetic, exasperating, offensive, likable? Is it possible to create a likable character who is a compulsive womanizer?

2. Yunior says of himself, "I’m not a bad guy.... I’m like everybody else: weak, full of mistakes, but basically good." Do you agree with his self-assessment...or is he letting himself off the hook too easily? Isn't his description applicable to anyone?

3. Talk about the family's reaction to their new home in the U.S. What would it be like to find yourself in a totally new culture faced with an different language?

4. (Follow-up to Question 3) In "Invierno" Yunior and his brother, newly arrived in New Jersey, stare out the window. Talk about the literary symbolism of that act—what "staring out a window" might represent metaphorically for anyone new to this country.

5. What role in this book does the American Dream play in Yunior's and his family's new life in America?

6. What about Rafa—what do you think of him? Talk about the relationship between the two brothers and, especially, how Yunior relates to Rafa.

7. What does Yunior think—what do you think—of the way Rafa treats women? Does Yunor admire and envy his brother's treatment of women? Does he want to copy Rafa's behavior...or is he shocked by it?

8. (Follow-up to Question 7) A pattern of infidelity runs throughout the stories. Why is Yunior compulsively unfaithful to women? Consider the influences of his father and brother—are genetics destiny? Explore the idea of a deeper, metaphorical meaning of betrayal in these stories—a betrayal against the self? And why does Yunior leave a written record of his infidelities?

9. (Follow-up to Questions 7 & 8) What makes Yunior so compulsively self-destructive?

10. How does the author deal with Rafa's cancer? If you've read other works about cancer patients, does Diaz differ in the way he handles the illness in this book?

11. In "The Pura Principle," Mami, having not been particularly religious before, turns to Christianity to find solace during Rafa's illness. What is Yunior's attitude toward his mother's new-found devotion...and his attitude toward religion in general?

12. Talk about the final story of this book, "The Cheater's Guide to Love." What is Yunior coming to realize? In what way has he changed or matured?

13. Diaz uses two different points of view in his stories—the first-person "I" and second-person "you." At times he breaks out of the former to speak to readers directly. Any thought as to why—what is the effect of doing so? What about his use of the second-person perspective—is it clever, awkward, or off-putting?

14. Some have described Diaz's language as "Spanglish." But he also uses a healty dose of idioms from other parts of culture, from hip-hop to academia. What other cultural lingo does Diaz draw from, and what is the effect of his "multilingualism"? Does it make for greater realism...or humor...or what? Does it cause difficulties for you, the reader?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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