19. “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” Junot Diaz

This is at least the third time I have checked this book out of the library and only the first time I made it beyond twenty pages. This isn’t because it isn’t a good book– it was excellent– or that those pages were slow, it just somehow always got bumped by other books. This is weird because it’s right up my alley. It’s a sort of cultural history of a post-Trujillo Dominican Republic. There’s family history. There’s geekery. There’s a first-person narrator who is fallible, funny, conversational, smart, observant. It makes you feel smarter without actually having to learn anything. I enjoy all these things! Once I got into it, the book was great, and I could see why geeks I respect would enjoy it.

The third part of the book felt pretty rushed, though. I suppose that was the whole rapid-passage-of-time as this part of someone’s life rushes to a close thing, but it felt sort of unfinished. The last paragraph or so is really great, though.

And can I also go on record as saying that I would totally hate Oscar, too? I want to like him. A fat geek with an impressive vocabulary? Have you met me? But damn, Oscar is annoying. Diaz’s writing is impressive in how effortlessly he is able to adopt different voices. I generally dislike when authors don’t use quotation marks because I find it confusing (hi, I am an oddly literal thinker sometimes), but each character’s voice was so developed that I could easily follow.

Page count: 335
Page total: 4,573

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  1. Vikky
    April 5, 2010 at 7:33 am

    I am truly honored to be a geek you respect.

    Also, Oscar reminded me of Sam so powerfully that at times I had to put the book down. I’m still not sure if I liked Oscar, but I think a lot of me didn’t.

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