We the Animals is composed of small stories, fragments with seemingly no larger importance. The no-name seven-year old hero wonders around with his two older brothers, Manny and Joel, trying to kill time as their parents are both too young to handle them and work night shifts to bring in at least some money. The raw narration style sharply enhances the themes of the book; poverty, Puerto Rican heritage, young parentage and homosexuality. The use of language displays no mercy nor affection for the hero. And so the aloofness of the novel remarkably reinforces the impact on reader's emotional response to the story.
Overall, the most powerful driving force of the book is Justin Torres' writing style which does not show any sympathy or concern for his hero. He neatly lines up individual stories to create a mosaic of life of the boy who loves and, at the same time, hates his family. Torres depicts the story of the hero who learns to smoke too young and who wants to escape the pain of his miserable life, yet he knows it is impossible.
Justin Torres' book We the Animals is a refreshing change in the literary world full of cliché stories and happy endings. He brings to the reader's attention unspoken subjects which need to be open and discussed. And that is the reason why it is worth of reading this turning-page book.