The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.

What a fascinating, wonderful book! 

The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. What a fascinating, wonderful book! 

My curiosity about this book peaked with the title. “Wondrous” – was that a spelling mistake? I went and looked it up, and it is actually a valid word. As opposed to wonderous with an e wondrous, has a more magical, mystical element built into it. And as I read through the book, I became very clear to me why a Diaz chose to call the book a wondrous. It’s a fantastic book that strides history, imagination, life events, characters, narrative literature and the use of literary devices into a powerful, riveting story. The basic story is about Oscar, a family of immigrants from the Dominican Republic. They have moved to New Jersey to live a lower-middle-class life with a single mom raising two kids in the Jersey suburb.

One of the first things that struck me was how well the author of switches between first-person, third Person and second-person narrative. His persona fluidly goes between being the narrator as well as the central character in the book. Really a wonderful use of these devices. What strikes you is the sadness that runs through the entire story. It’s basically a tragic story built around the central character of Oscar. Oscar is a young person with weight issues, with self-esteem issues, faces discrimination and somebody who is trying to bridge the gap between his family’s very strong roots in the Dominican Republic with his American life in New Jersey. 

The story winds its way through historical elements of the life of the people of the Dominican Republic during the terrible days of the Trujillo dictatorship and how that has many long-term implications for not only the people who lived and survived but also those who managed to get away. It’s as if the tentacles of that dark period of history continue to reach out to all the immigrants and, and have an impact on their life. 

This narrative is also interwoven with magical and mystical parts of a deeply held Christian belief of the people of the Dominican Republic. The characters in the story are portrayed in a very rich, vivid fashion. As Oscar grows up from we follow him from going to middle school to a very tumultuous high school period and eventually to college at Rutgers. Some of the scenes the author has painted about time spent in the Rutgers dorms is fascinating. It almost makes me want to visit those places, particularly Demarest (a residence hall on the Rutgers campus). It makes me want to visit Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic where the family visits on occasion. This is where a lot of the narrative takes place and a very important part of the overall story. Almost a character in itself. A really captivating book. Everybody should go read.

What a fascinating, wonderful book! 

My curiosity about this book peaked with the title. “Wondrous” – was that a spelling mistake? I went and looked it up, and it is actually a valid word. As opposed to wonderous with an e wondrous, has a more magical, mystical element built into it. And as I read through the book, I became very clear to me why a Diaz chose to call the book a wondrous. It’s a fantastic book that strides history, imagination, life events, characters, narrative literature and the use of literary devices into a powerful, riveting story. The basic story is about Oscar, a family of immigrants from the Dominican Republic. They have moved to New Jersey to live a lower-middle-class life with a single mom raising two kids in the Jersey suburb.

One of the first things that struck me was how well the author of switches between first-person, third Person and second-person narrative. His persona fluidly goes between being the narrator as well as the central character in the book. Really a wonderful use of these devices. What strikes you is the sadness that runs through the entire story. It’s basically a tragic story built around the central character of Oscar. Oscar is a young person with weight issues, with self-esteem issues, faces discrimination and somebody who is trying to bridge the gap between his family’s very strong roots in the Dominican Republic with his American life in New Jersey. 

The story winds its way through historical elements of the life of the people of the Dominican Republic during the terrible days of the Trujillo dictatorship and how that has many long-term implications for not only the people who lived and survived but also those who managed to get away. It’s as if the tentacles of that dark period of history continue to reach out to all the immigrants and, and have an impact on their life. 

This narrative is also interwoven with magical and mystical parts of a deeply held Christian belief of the people of the Dominican Republic. The characters in the story are portrayed in a very rich, vivid fashion. As Oscar grows up from we follow him from going to middle school to a very tumultuous high school period and eventually to college at Rutgers. Some of the scenes the author has painted about time spent in the Rutgers dorms is fascinating. It almost makes me want to visit those places, particularly Demarest (a residence hall on the Rutgers campus). It makes me want to visit Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic where the family visits on occasion. This is where a lot of the narrative takes place and a very important part of the overall story. Almost a character in itself. A really captivating book. Everybody should go read.