Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

"The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz centers around the sad life of Oscar DeLeon, an overweight Dominican nerd who loves science fiction, comic books, fantasy and girls, and the curse (fuku) which has touched the lives of his entire family, including his mother, Hypatia Belicia Cabral, his sister Lola, and his grandfather Abelard Luis Cabral. Poor Oscar is depressed, lonely, a virgin, and unfortunately seemingly unable to remedy the situation.

The story was funny and heartbreaking at times, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the use of Spanglish and Spanish throughout the book, I thought that given the fact that the title of the book is "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" that the story would've had a greater focus on Oscar. Instead, the story spreads itself kind of thin by covering everyone in the family, giving you enough information to care about everyone, but love no one. Another feature which limits the reader's connection with Oscar is the fact that the story is narrated by different people at different times, mostly by Yunior, Oscar's best friend, so you never get a good insight as to Oscar's thoughts and feelings through the more pivotal points in the story. Despite those complaints and the bittersweet ending, which doesn't come as a surprise given the title of the book, I enjoyed the story. It wasn't a can't put down page turner for me, but enjoyable nonetheless.