#11: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

A special thanks to my colleague, Tyler, for giving me this book a few months ago. I hadn’t heard of this book before he gave it to me, but when I was looking for suggestions online, this book kept appearing. Seeing as I already owned it, it made since to add it to my challenge.

Not only was this novel entertaining and engaging, but I also learned a lot of history about the Dominican Republic that I either wasn’t taught in school or I just forgot (sorry high school history teachers…). Anyways, this novel features an all-knowing narrator, Yunior, who tells the story of Oscar de Leon and Oscar’s family, dating back to his grandparents who lived during Trujillo’s dictatorship in the DR.

Oscar’s family was said to be cursed after his grandfather may or may not have said something against Trujillo (it really didn’t matter in that time period, if you were suspected of disrespecting him then you were thrown in prison and tortured). Yunior doesn’t definitively say whether or not he believes in the Dominican superstitions, but certainly presents a compelling argument for how Oscar’s family has been cursed for decades.

I won’t spoil the story by giving away Oscar’s fate, but just keep in mind that this isn’t a happy-go-lucky kind of story, but it is remarkably well written and interesting.

A few quotes…

“Success, after all, loves a witness, but failure can’t exist without one.”

“It’s never the changes we want that change everything.”

“You think people hate a fat person? Try a fat person who’s trying to get thin.”

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