Author: Junot Díaz
Published: September 6, 2007
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Hardcover: 335 pgs
Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd, a New Jersey romantic who 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 fukú — the ancient 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 dreaming of his first kiss, is only its most recent victim - until the fateful summer that he decides to be its last.
With dazzling energy and insight, Junot Díaz immerses us in the uproarious lives of our hero Oscar, his runaway sister Lola, and their ferocious beauty-queen mother Belicia, and in the epic journey from Santo Domingo to Washington Heights to New Jersey's Bergenline and back again. Rendered with uncommon warmth and humor, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao presents an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and the endless human capacity to persevere - and to risk it all - in the name of love.
Okay, okay, so I'm late to the game. You would think when Junot Díaz's won the Nobel Prize for this book, I would've ran to store to read this book a heck of a long time ago, but no -- I'm about 6 years too late.
Well, for this review, let me start with: better late than never!
This book was absolutely incredible. Well-written (in a truly unique-to-Diaz style), page-turning and extremely engaging. The main focus of this story is on the life of Oscar Wao, but it's mixed in with lots of Dominican history as well that is insightful and fascinating. As you read the story, it's impossible not to think about your own family and how your family's history (and superstitions) can truly affect your life. The little things your mother tells you about your family stay with you and affect the choices you make everyday. It's an incredible perspective.
Now, I've also heard that there has been some controversy about the ending and whether it stays true to the story. If you've read it, I'd love to know your thoughts. But as for me - and without giving too much away - I think the ending worked perfectly. I thought it showed a huge transformation in Oscar Wao that made great sense with the rest of the novel.
This book gets 5 out of 5 stars. I loved it :)