The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Author:Junot Diaz Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. 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 ... more »- 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.« less
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I absolutely loved this book. I've never read a book that is ANYTHING like this, the language used and sense of humor was wonderful. It's a fiction story, but filled with historical footnotes (mainly dealing with with Dominican history) that puts everything in context. The book goes from one character's point of view to another, all coming together to tell the story of Oscar and his "fuku" (cursed) bloodline. If you aren't offended by cursing and sex in books, this book is a real experience and completely unforgettable.
I just finished this book and had a hard time getting through it. There are many interuptions in the story with footnotes that describe Dominican life. That was sometimes helpful but sometimes interrupted the flow of the book. The author also uses quite a bit of un-translated spanish throughout. Having had a few years of spanish, I could put it in context but if you have no knowledge of spanish, keep a language translation dictionary handy.
This book is the story of Oscar a nerdy and extremely geeky Dominican man that is struggling to find where he fits in life. Diaz explores three generations of his family and at times you aren't quite sure which family members background story we are getting. If you enjoy light reading this is not the book for you.
Audra H. reviewed The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on
Helpful Score: 6
I read the back of this book and bought it as I love to read about Central and S American cultures. Started out good - was a little frustrated by the footnotes which in my opinion could have been in the book and not as separate mini text. Lots of Spanish and slang and when I actually knew the words added to the book. When I didn't, I found it distracting. Almost needs a glossary in the back for those that don't know the words. Struggled to get into it and ended up putting it down (which I rarely do but am learning its OK) about the midpoint. Not my cup of tea but maybe someone else would enjoy.
I was hooked from the first page of this riveting book! I loved the Spanish "dichos" (sayings) and all of the Fantasy/Sci-Fi references and was absolutely captivated by the characters. The plot was compelling and heart-wrenching. IMHO, this book is most deserving of the Pulitzer Prize. ¡Bravo!
From the title of this book and its back cover, I wasn't sure that I was going to relate to the overweight, sci-fi loving Oscar Wao. However, Junot Diaz managed to hook me from the first pages with his story about four generations of a Dominican-American family who are always on the brink of making it. I enjoyed his liberal usage of Spanish, despite my limited understanding. I also enjoyed the non-chronological nature of the story that somehow unraveled in just the way I needed it to, to really empathize with the characters. The Dominican history lessons sprinkled throughout the book were an enjoyable aside to the main story. I recommend this book to those who aren't put off by foul language!
Heartbreaking, gripping, and unlike anything else I've ever read - an odd mix of Spanish slang and sci-fi references that detail the life story of not only Oscar, but his sister, mother, adoptive grandmother, grandparents, aunts, friend and sometimes boyfriend of his sister, and the Dominican Republic while under Trujillo's dictatorship.
I have to say, geek that I am, I got pretty much all the sci-fi references sprinkled throughout the book. I have a little Spanish and was able to understand some of the phrases, if only by context alone. But a few references escaped me, and I found a website called http://www.annotated-oscar-wao.com/ invaluable for those.
A difficult read at times, due to both writing style and content, but worth reading.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a little hard to follow the narrators, as they shifted, and I can't imagine reading it without a working knowledge of Spanish--you could either skip it, and lose a little context, or keep a dictionary by your side, but the story was great, as was the writing.
I read This is How You Lose Her two years ago when it first came out, and I loved it so since then I've wanted to read The Brief Wondrous life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz' most acclaimed and famous work. Oscar Wao did not disappoint me. It was so smooth and well written-- it took me about 30 pages in to realize that there were no quotation marks. Also I love multi-generational stories, and this one delivers with common motifs and themes throughout. It's a pretty amazing book. The reason why I am giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is because the pacing wasn't the best in some areas, and sometimes the writing style was a bit grating