The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao MAG

September 14, 2010
By Emily Schneider BRONZE, Homer, Alaska
Emily Schneider BRONZE, Homer, Alaska
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Strong language, in-depth history, and rich imagery power The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a fascinating book by Junot Díaz. The story takes place in a ghetto in the Dominican Republic and in America, and focuses on a dangerously fat, nerdy boy named Oscar and his quest for love. Oscar experiences fukú (the curse of the New World), has no way with women, and has always been lonely.

Oscar's American Dream is to fall in love. But as he chases one love after another, he is brutally disappointed. Women seem to elude him, what with his enormous figure and abrupt encounters. When a girl finally does fall in love with him, she already has a boyfriend who is extremely powerful, and orders his men to beat Oscar to within an inch of his life. Things don't look great for Oscar, but he knows this love is one he'd be willing to die for.

Beyond being entertaining, this book is hugely informative. It's full of accurate, image-­provoking, and sometimes mildly disturbing Dominican history. The story is a perfect combination of humor, history, tragedy, and love. Díaz breathes life into all of the characters, with their heart-wrenching history, and uses them to spin an irresistible tale of the myth of the fukú and following one's dreams.

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