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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Author: Junot Diaz
This is the long-awaited first novel from one of the most original and memorable writers working today. — Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J....  more »
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ISBN-13: 9781594489587
ISBN-10: 1594489580
Publication Date: 9/6/2007
Pages: 338
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 257 ratings
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

crawford avatar reviewed The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on + 59 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 15
I absolutely loved this book. I've never read a book that is ANYTHING like this, the language used and sense of humor was wonderful. It's a fiction story, but filled with historical footnotes (mainly dealing with with Dominican history) that puts everything in context. The book goes from one character's point of view to another, all coming together to tell the story of Oscar and his "fuku" (cursed) bloodline. If you aren't offended by cursing and sex in books, this book is a real experience and completely unforgettable.
Ashantix avatar reviewed The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
I just finished this book and had a hard time getting through it. There are many interuptions in the story with footnotes that describe Dominican life. That was sometimes helpful but sometimes interrupted the flow of the book. The author also uses quite a bit of un-translated spanish throughout. Having had a few years of spanish, I could put it in context but if you have no knowledge of spanish, keep a language translation dictionary handy.

This book is the story of Oscar a nerdy and extremely geeky Dominican man that is struggling to find where he fits in life. Diaz explores three generations of his family and at times you aren't quite sure which family members background story we are getting. If you enjoy light reading this is not the book for you.
evelyn0309 avatar reviewed The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on + 84 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
I was hooked from the first page of this riveting book! I loved the Spanish "dichos" (sayings) and all of the Fantasy/Sci-Fi references and was absolutely captivated by the characters. The plot was compelling and heart-wrenching. IMHO, this book is most deserving of the Pulitzer Prize. ¡Bravo!
reviewed The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on
Helpful Score: 5
I read the back of this book and bought it as I love to read about Central and S American cultures. Started out good - was a little frustrated by the footnotes which in my opinion could have been in the book and not as separate mini text. Lots of Spanish and slang and when I actually knew the words added to the book. When I didn't, I found it distracting. Almost needs a glossary in the back for those that don't know the words. Struggled to get into it and ended up putting it down (which I rarely do but am learning its OK) about the midpoint. Not my cup of tea but maybe someone else would enjoy.
reviewed The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This is a story about Oscar, an overweight virgin, and his family who originally came from the Dominican Republic.

All through the book I questioned "What kind of reader does this book appeal to?" I could never really figure it out. Without giving away my true age...I grew up during the 70's and 80's, in a moderately geeky style, and I recognized some Twilight Zone and Middle Earth references but many were completely lost on me. A semester of high school Spanish did not cut it. I found it a little distracting to stop and try to translate a fair amount of Spanish and some words that may have just been slang. I wish the author had worked many overly long footnotes into the text of the story, I think he could have.

Overall, the book kept my interest with its unique writing style. The story was more about a family than about Oscar whose life I did not find all that wondrous.
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reviewed The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on + 67 more book reviews
Heartbreaking, gripping, and unlike anything else I've ever read - an odd mix of Spanish slang and sci-fi references that detail the life story of not only Oscar, but his sister, mother, adoptive grandmother, grandparents, aunts, friend and sometimes boyfriend of his sister, and the Dominican Republic while under Trujillo's dictatorship.

I have to say, geek that I am, I got pretty much all the sci-fi references sprinkled throughout the book. I have a little Spanish and was able to understand some of the phrases, if only by context alone. But a few references escaped me, and I found a website called invaluable for those.

A difficult read at times, due to both writing style and content, but worth reading.
PaganAngel avatar reviewed The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on + 16 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this book. It was a little hard to follow the narrators, as they shifted, and I can't imagine reading it without a working knowledge of Spanish--you could either skip it, and lose a little context, or keep a dictionary by your side, but the story was great, as was the writing.
constantki avatar reviewed The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on + 7 more book reviews
I read This is How You Lose Her two years ago when it first came out, and I loved it so since then I've wanted to read The Brief Wondrous life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz' most acclaimed and famous work. Oscar Wao did not disappoint me. It was so smooth and well written-- it took me about 30 pages in to realize that there were no quotation marks. Also I love multi-generational stories, and this one delivers with common motifs and themes throughout. It's a pretty amazing book. The reason why I am giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is because the pacing wasn't the best in some areas, and sometimes the writing style was a bit grating
kimdep avatar reviewed The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on + 39 more book reviews
I like the fast pace & the dialogue of this book. The narrator is hip and uses Dominican slang. It's a kind of a comic-tragedy type story. Oscar is sort of a sap.
reviewed The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on + 391 more book reviews
I found myself bedazzled from the very first page by Diaz' remarkable prose. These are among the most dynamic prose of our century ... and perhaps any century. Diaz' prose take wondrous leaps and abysmal dives into rich meaning and provocative literary nuances. And then they can be so simple as to capture a cultural utterance that might knock the reader out of her chair. Fabulous.

Diaz' weaving of a fascinating curse, a hopeless nerd in America, and the tragic yet spellbinding life under Trujillo in Santo Domingo make for an unforgettable and powerful novel. We follow Oscar's ominous family history and the author does impressive work of interlacing that history into Oscar's modern writhing for an American identity. We all know where the story ends, but that takes nothing away from the deeply talented telling of it: we must know how it happened. So nice to see a modern Pulitzer winner with a noticeable plot!