Oscar Wao

Wao or Wow. Hard to decipher in this case. What a character, what a story about everything but the character. Far from what you’d expect from a title like, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” I thought it’d be all about Oscar Wao. Surprise, surprise. I got a bit of insight half way through from a Q&A with Junot Diaz, that the story was really about his cornerstones- the crazy dominican women in his life- which kept him alive, or to an extent of “alive” through his brief life.

Few things that cannot be left unsaid:

1. What an incredible visual into the life of a Dominican American. My parents didn’t suffer nearly as much as Oscar’s in DR, but everything from the familial secrecy, pride, behaviors, the parenting, the contant need to escape your mothers’ firm firm grasp. Truly, so incredibly relative, I can’t describe it.

2. Hard to understand who’s narrating, for a while…at least half-way in. I won’t spoil it, but what a touching, emotional way to end the book, once you know who’s telling the story.

3. Question the way you decide to treat Dominicans on your next vacation to ‘paradise’. Jesus have they suffered. I cannot imagine growing up during the Trujillato. Not a joke. Irrevocable torment for every family living during that dictatorship. Need a taste? Read this book.

4. Couldn’t read half the footnotes in the book- too much footnote-age going on, if you ask me. Not a bad thing…a lot of useful history to be read within them- I was just to into it to jump down to read every time.

5. Junot Diaz is an amazing writer. Contemporary and relatable. I’ve yet to read a book in which the voice is EXACTLY as I’d expected it to be. SO on point with the spanglish, the vocabulary and the slang.

6. The love between siblings= bond, unbreakable.

After everything, what IS of Oscar’s brief wondrous life? So much more than brief- a genius, a sensible calm, hopeless romantic. A book worm and avid writer with an imagination I wish I had a tenth of… wondrous is an understatement.

I’ll end this on a couple of points and the quote that broke me:

– Kudos Junot Diaz

– Reading his first book “Drown” next

– I’m proud to be Dominican

“He told them that what they were doing was wrong, that they were going to take a great love out of the world. Love was a rare thing, easily confused with a million other things, and if anybody knew this to be true it was him. He told them about ___ and the way he loved her and how much they had risked and that they’d started to dream the same dreams and the same words… it was only because of her love that he’d been able to do the thing that he had done, the thing that could no longer stop…”

“…because anything you can dream you can be.”


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