Saturday, February 23, 2013

Book #1- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Title- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Author- Junot Díaz
Genre- Historical Fiction
Pages- 335
Pages to Date- 335

The Good:  In this book Díaz tells the story of a Dominican Republic family cursed by bad luck.  Their tragic lives manage to captivate the reader and hold attention throughout the story.  The characters also constantly refer back to Dominican history.  This would make the book difficult to follow but Díaz conveniently includes footnotes commenting on the historical references, providing insight into their meaning.    

The Bad:  The narrator of the stories is constantly referencing science fiction books, TV shows, movies, and comic books.  If you’re not well versed in science fiction literature some phrases are confusing.  Similar to this problem is the use of Spanish words and phrases.  Being Dominican, the characters will sometimes speak in Spanish, and unless you know Spanish, good luck understanding.  There are online annotated notes to assist with all of the references, but it gets old reading a page then reading all of the explanations online.

Verdict:  Overall, this book is a fascinating look into a culture’s superstitions and history.  It is difficult to understand some of the phrases and references, but the family’s story captures the reader and will entertain till the very end.  I’d definitely recommend checking this book out, regardless of its hitches.     

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