Now a novelist, in 1996, Alisa Valdes was a writer for the Living section of the Globe when Junot Diaz's "Drown" collection of short stories came out. When he came up to Boston, she interviewed him and they began a relationship even though he expressed disgust when she took him to a Dominican restaurant in JP rather than a fancy place downtown.
It was a very one-sided relationship that that showed just what a misogynist he is, and which ended after she visited him in New York, Valdes wrote yesterday.
Once, Diaz even asked me to clean his disgusting kitchen before I left back to Boston, telling me his severe depression made it hard for him to pick up after himself.
There were literally hundreds of empty iced tea bottles on the counters and the floors. He had just told me about the girlfriend, and thought I would still want to clean his kitchen. When I asked him about this, he laughed and called out from his futon on the floor in his bedroom: “Sweetie, you can take the man out of the D.R., but you can’t take the Dominican out of the man.”
The thing is, Valdes wrote about all this before, after she had left the Globe and become a best-selling author on her own:
I publicly said Diaz was a misogynist opportunistic liar more than ten years ago, after he mistreated me, and I was severely punished for it - by Diaz, and by the publishing and Latino communities.
This time, things are different:
Thank you, Zinzi, Carmen, Monica, for giving me the courage to know it wasn’t just me. Or me at all. It was him.
Me too, chicas.