Monday, February 4, 2013

Review: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

I had no idea what The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz was about. I read it because I needed a book for a reading challenge and I happened to get this one for free from World Book Night. You may ask, “Why didn’t you just read the blurb on the back of the book?” Well, instead of a blurb there was a list of books that were featured in World Book Night. Then you may ask, “Why didn’t you look at reviews online, or the GoodReads description?” and to that I would answer, “‘Cause I didn’t.”

That being said, I liked it.

The book follows not only Oscar, but also his sister, mother, and friend (who is also the narrator). Oscar’s life is not exactly a happy and cheery event. He peaked with women at the age of 7, and after his first heartbreak it was a quick downward spiral towards nerd-dom. As a Dominical male, Oscar’s difficulty with women and geekyness is basically the worst thing in the world. He loves reading and writing science fiction, can’t get enough anime, and does not know the first thing about picking up women. His terrible social skills follow him through college and beyond, and he is a very unhappy person because of it. We follow Oscar’s adventures in New Jersey and the Dominican Republic, and feel really bad for him most of the time. But, he is happy at the end. As for the sister, mother and friend, we see how their life experiences affected or related to Oscar. Readers learn about their pasts and find out how that may have influenced Oscar’s life decisions.

There were a lot of sad and depressing parts in this story, but there was enough humor throughout that I didn’t feel so terrible that I put the book down. I liked that the narrator spoke with authority on Oscar’s life, but also reminds readers that he is only peacing this story together, and that there are some things he doesn’t know. It’s also believable that the narrator was actually writing the story, because we find out that he was a writing major along with Oscar. And it gave me a chance to brush up on my Spanish, which was helpful because I actually read this while on vacation in the Dominican Republic.


  1. I had to read this book for a freshman intro class in college. Needless to say I HATED it. But I did meet the author. Well didn't meet him. They brought him to my school to talk to us. He was kinda funny but he cursed like every other word. Plus he read us a short story that was basically a smut piece in a car and made me feel very uncomfortable. But you know...totally okay that you liked it :D

  2. I find that many people hate the books they had to read for their freshman English classes. Maybe it's because the books are forced on them.
    That being said, I really want some chocolate.