El's Reviews > The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
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's review
Mar 13, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 1001-books-list, 21st-centurylit, read-in-a-blink, peer-pressure
Read on March 13, 2011

I didn't expect to read this book today. In fact I didn't expect to read this book in one day. But I holed myself up in my little library, picked it up to glance through the first couple pages to see if it seemed like it could interest me at some point. A few hours later I'm here writing this review after devouring the whole book.

Oscar is an overweight, unpopular, Dominican living in New Jersey. The story begins during his teenage years, at the height of his nerdiest of the nerds. I thought, based on the title, the story would be his story and his story only, but that turned out to be wrong. It's his story, it's his runaway sister's story, it's his mother's story, it's his college roommate's story. It's a story of Dominican history, ancestry, and the love of genre fiction. This story is riddled with pop culture references from Oscar's Planet of the Apes lunch box to comic books to his repeated mantra from Dune - fear is the mindkiller.

It probably goes without saying, but Oscar wasn't so lucky with the ladies. His story is each girl's story as well, and throughout these stories I kept thinking of that Cee Lo Green song and thought Cee Lo and Oscar might have a lot in common, except instead of one Heartbreaker like Cee Lo, Oscar had a scorecard full of 'em.

I also thought a lot about one of my all-time favorite books EVER, City Boy. Herbie Bookbinder and Oscar also have quite a few things in common. Oscar is like the next generation of Herbie Bookbinder.

Maybe it comes down to the fact that I'm drawn to these poor kids, the ones who just don't quite have a clue, just don't have the right kind of luck, or the right kind of looks, or the right amount of money. The ones who spend more time dreaming than they do living, who finds friends in the pages of the books they read and trust them more than the people they meet in the regular world. The ones who are doomed, somewhat damaged, but are real nonetheless.

I loved this book, which surprised me. And maybe it's because it surprised me that I loved it.
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Quotes El Liked

Junot Díaz
“Success, after all, loves a witness, but failure can't exist without one.”
Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Reading Progress

03/13/2011 page 76
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Alasse (new)

Alasse Nice!

Alex That sounds like a pretty fucking good Sunday.

message 3: by El (new) - rated it 5 stars

El Absolutely great Sunday. Had my cuddle-bug pug in my lap for the majority of the time, no real responsibilities, a stack of books, good tunes... too bad I have to work tomorrow.

K.D. Absolutely Nice review. I did not rub my that way though. But I agree with your review.

Joanna I also loved that one when I read it -- much more than I'd expected to.

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