Home / Uncategorized / Mini Book Review: The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Mini Book Review: The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoThe Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Full of references to Latino life (including one to a Brazilian novela that I have actually watched that made me laugh out loud) and J.R.R. Tolkien and other heroes of fantasy and science fiction, I imagine the audience that gets both the Spanish and the geek is miniscule. It so happens, I fall into that bizarro group, but the insider knowledge wasn’t especially illuminating. Yes, I found this hilarious at times and heartbreaking at others, but I was also kind of underwhelmed. I’m Colombian, and I’ve read numerous versions of the Latino immigrant story and lived my own—maybe that’s the reason I don’t embrace many books in this genre wholeheartedly. After a while they all start to blur into each other and feel the same.

That doesn’t mean some aren’t imaginative or well written or even memorable. This was some of those things, but not enough of any of them to make it a true classic or even just a personal favorite, and given the hardware backing this one up, that surprised me. I’m guessing at least some of the insider humor got through to the Pulitzer committee and that plus the postmodern structure secured the award. Either way, I do think there are better out there, but there are also a lot worse, and a lot less funny.

View all my goodreads reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *