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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

I loved this book. Junot Diaz explores what it means to be a Dominicano in the US of A. Oscar is a fat, nerdy social misfit. He is so nerdy his nerd friends are embarrassed by him. He struggles to fit in, to find love all while remaining Oscar “Wao”.

How does one remain true to one’s self when that self is the antithesis of all that you are expected to be? When your speech, your appearance, your hobbies and interests make you somehow inauthentic? If an authentic Dominican cannot be authentically Dominican by being himself, what does that mean?

We learn about his mother and his sister, who too have their struggles. The mothers tale is the most fascinating of all, I’ve known many like her. She is a woman who has been through so much that all that is left of her is her will to survive. The daughter, struggles against her mothers vision of who she should be and her need to become herself.

The narrator had a knack for being both hilarious and insightful and I found myself laughing out loud more times than I could count. I like the “realness” of it, his knack for finding just the right word or right analogy to bring a concept to life. The shit about Trujillo was wet-your-pants funny.

In the end,I found I could relate to each of the main characters, I felt I understood them. And Oscar? I’ve been Oscar Wao.
My highest praise is for the author himself, he seems like someone I’d enjoy sitting down and talking ying with.

An Interview with Junot Diaz

I have 10 pages of dreck for every page I write thats worth reading. Yet I continue to write the dreck in order to get to the good part. Unfortunately for you, i share the dreck! 🙂 I like this quotation-

DĂ­az: I’ve never had the good fortune of getting a clear idea in my head and then writing the damn thing down in one go. The only success I’ve had as a writer is by screwing up over and over and over. I’ll write a story or a chapter 20 times before I start approaching what I think the story should be. And it is in that process of writing what I’m not supposed to be writing that I find my way to what I am supposed to be writing.

A few reviews-
The Ghetto Nerd
From Salon

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