Title: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Author: Junot Diaz
Release Date: 2007
Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2008), Anisfield-Wolf Book Award (2008), Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction (2008), Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction (2008), National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction (2007)
Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction (2008), The Rooster – The Morning News Tournament of Books (2008), Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize (2007)
Finished Reading: November 23, 2014
About: “From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuku – the curse that has haunted the Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.
Junot Diaz immerses us in the tumultuous life of Oscar and the history of the family at large, rendering with genuine warmth and dazzling energy, humor, and insight the Dominican-American experience, and, ultimately, the endless human capacity to persevere in the face of heartbreak and loss.”
This book was handed to me by one of my co-workers after we talked about a different book my Diaz. We talked about it at work, then when I went to her house the next day, she had it waiting for me. Yes, please. Thank you.
This book. It’s one thing to hear awesome things about a book. Sometimes you go in with super high expectations and sometimes you go in wanting to hate the book because of the high praise. I tried to keep myself neutral, but after seeing all my friends that had read it and rated it pretty high on goodreads, I had slightly higher than normal expectations.
My expectations were not unwarranted. The insane mix of Spanglish, lore, and nerdom references was just superb. Next time you see Diaz, give him a high five for me. Actually, he deserves more than that. Give him a hug.. and a cupcake..and an autograph for me.
While we’re following Oscar for the duration of the book, we’re given background on the mother, sister, roommate, and other awesome minor characters that turn out to play huge roles in Oscar’s life. The narration choice is just so on-point for me. It’s not the typical first person or the typical omnipresent. I love it! It’s one of many, many reasons why this book will stand out for me.
Something I noticed right away and wasn’t sure I would like is that Diaz uses footnotes. I have an issue with footnotes – ever since I read “The Love Song of J. Alred Proofrock” by T.S. Eliot. To me, footnotes are a way for the author to rub in your face just how smart they are. It’s their way of saying: Oh, you have no idea what big word or obscure reference I’m making? Don’t worry, I dumb it down right here. Diaz’s aren’t like that. It’s hard to explain. Yes, he does go into detail about some of the lore and references to people or wars that I have no idea what he’s talking about. BUUUUT it stays in the laid-back style of his writing. It’s not all pretentious. So… I’m okie with it. Maybe it was the fact that there was a footnote all about Mordor…
I fell in love with every single character. They are all beautifully flawed and have something that you can grasp on as redeeming qualities. (Can we all just hug? It’s a very huggy day today.)
My rating and why: I gave this book four stars! I read it and instantly fell in love with the writing style, the characters, and couldn’t help but swoon at the Spanglish. Love, love, love!
You’re turn, my dears! Have you read this book? Have you read anything else by Diaz – what was it – did you like it? What gets you super excited to find in books? Let me know in the comments below. Like. Comment. Follow. New book review to come tomorrow.
Until next time my fellow bibliophiles!