Book Review: How to Shake the Other Man by Derek Palacio

How to Shake the Other Man: Palacio, Derek: 9780983658580: Books

Title: How to Shake the Other Man

Author: Derek Palacio

Genre: Literary Novella

Number of Pages: 63

Rating: B-

Recommended?: Yes

How to Shake the Other Man was very well-written but I think it was missing something. Looking back, I think it’s main defect was the total lack of a satisfying ending. If you’re looking for a happy story, look elsewhere because this novella is a disturbing and uncomfortable experience. The story follows Oscar, a Latino boxing trainer whose gay brother Marcel is killed in a hold-up. Marcel had become enamored with Javier, a young prostitute who eventually became his boyfriend and Oscar tries to teach Javier to box as per his late brother’s wishes.

All the three of the main characters in this book are interesting, even if they’re not particularly likable. Their lives are overwhelmingly bleak and sad, and the book’s sexual content is sleazy rather than titillating. It kept my attention throughout and even though it was depressing I found it hard to put down. Like I said before, this book’s weakest point is the ending because I got invested in what would happen to the characters and it just totally let me down. I’m not a fan of ambiguous ending in general and this had one of the worst.

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