21 May 2008

Book Banter -- The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao

Title: The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao
Author: Junot Diaz
Length: 459 pages (large-type version)
Genre: literary fiction
Plot Basics: Oscar Wao is a overweight sci-fi/fantasy nerd. The problem is, culturally, as a man from the Dominican Republic, he's expected to be very smooth with the ladies. Rather, Oscar is terrible, falling ridiculously in love with girls he cannot have. Oscar's failure with girls may be the result of a long family curse and it impacts all those around him.
Banter Points: Word Nerd read this book as her May title for her book club. It's not a title that she likely would have picked up, but she's really glad the club picked it. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2008 and it's clear why. Diaz presents a great story in a unique voice. Also, Word Nerd enjoyed the story because of all the sci-fi references. Though Diaz pokes fun at genre fiction, he clearly knows it because the references are spot-on from Lord of the Rings to Robotech to The Matrix.
Bummer Points: Word Nerd wished she knew just a tad more Spanish. Diaz flips in and out of Spanish throughout the book and while she could decipher it many times, there were plenty of others when she had no clue.
Word Nerd Recommendation: This book is very worth the read. Tragically comedic and historically informative, Oscar Wao is a character that many people should get to know.

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