Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz was originally published in 2007 and won the Pulitzer Prize. My paperback copy has 340 pages. I don't know where to begin this review... There is a lot of untranslated Spanish or Spanglish in this book - too much for a non-Spanish speaking reader. For me, the use of expletives were simply too frequent and not necessary. It is just all just too much.
Ah... okay, I really disliked this book. Diaz had brief passages of insight, humor, and genius, but, all in all, I had to force myself to finish it - not a good sign. I don't think Oscar Wao was a good choice for me. I have a feeling this is one of those love it/hate it books. My honest rating is a 1; because of brief sparkling moments, sometimes deeply embedded within, maybe a 3.


Synopsis from cover:
"Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd, a New Jersey romantic who dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkein and, most of all, of finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the....curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, following them on their epic journey from the Dominican Republic to the United States and back again."

Quotes:

"They say it came first from Africa, carried in the screams of the enslaved; that it was the death bane of the Tainos, uttered just as one world perished and another began; that it was a demon drawn into Creation through the nightmare door that was cracked open in the Antilles." first sentence

"For Oscar, high school was the equivalent of a medieval spectacle, like being put in the stocks and forced to endure the peltings and outrages of a mob of deranged half-wits, an experience from which he supposed he should have emerged a better person, but that's not really what happened - and if there were any lessons to be gleaned from the ordeal of those years he never quite figured out what they were." pg. 19

"Dude wore his nerdiness like a Jedi wore his light saber or a Lensman her lens. Couldn't have passed for Normal if he'd wanted to." pg. 21

"And at that moment, for reasons you will never quite understand, you are overcome by the feeling, the premonition, that something in your life is about to change. You become light-headed and you can feel a throbbing in your blood, a beat, a rhythm, a drum." pg. 53

3 comments:

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel said...

Oh no! I'm sorry to hear you didn't like this. I've been looking forward to it. I hated Mambo Kings!

Sorry, I had to repost my comment due to typos. Grr!

Lori said...

I was looking forward to reading it too. This made it doubly disappointing after I actually got to read it. If you hated Mambo Kings as much as I did, LOL, I'm guessing that you aren't going to like Ocsar Wao either.