{Book Review} People Like Us – Javier Valdes

People Like Us: Short StoriesPeople Like Us: Short Stories by Javier Valdes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

: A compilation of stories with irony as the central theme.

People Like Us is the first story out of this book. I was hooked five pages in. A good, interesting read–especially if you like mysteries and realism. And old houses. (I thought it was cute that the author named the characters after himself and the person he dedicated the book to.)

Neighbors was a very interesting take on good and evil and the subsequent corruption of good, shown vis-a-vis a pure and good family and a good-looking family with many problems.

Cornelia is the funniest out of the lot, in terms of the ending. It had a less darker situational irony at the end, because it had a happy ending–for Cornelia.

Beat Me to Death was an interesting tale of aggression, mimicking Neighbors in a way that the ‘good boy’ becomes the aggressor in the end. It used the same type of moral irony, and the build up wherein the character/s are so focused on getting from point A to point B, they don’t realize what they’ve become.

Flidia, in my opinion, is the most twisted tale out of this book. Maybe it’s just because I’m a woman and the fear of rape is very real, but to see the psychological machinations of how the kidnapper made his victim feel at ease by spoiling her, and eventually raping her–but she was so far gone into Stockholm Syndrome) that she looked forward to every encounter and ended up spending the rest of life looking for her attacker–was disturbing, to say the least.

Orquidea makes fun of the very traditional Catholic family. (And the protagonist is once again named after the author.) It wasn’t the story I’d have closed the book with, because it was so weak compared to the others.

Overall, this book kept me hooked–I wanted to find out what happened next, the storytelling was simple but effective (especially when it turned gruesome in Beat Me To Death).

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