The familiarity is the hook, common ground. It gives you a sense of ownership over the story that is about to unfold. In the case of this novel that familiarity is in the titular character’s extreme nerdiness. Not what passes for nerdy today but mid-eighties, Fan-Fiction writing, pen and paper RPG nerdy. A fat Dominican nerd, in New Jersey. Also the narrator of the story pulls from just about every facet of the dork kingdom to draw analogies to what is transpiring in the story (Tujillo‘s Regime is likened to Mordor, hit Points are ascribed to damage caused by real world violence!).
However what is most compelling is the tremendous amount of insight in to Dominican and Dominican-American culture. A little looking glass into a world that is predominantly overlooked by “White-America”. From 20th Century history, culture, folklore to Dominican Diaspora, they are all things to which,I had been ignorant.
If your looking for a character driven story with fantastic dialogue and narrative, and looking to gain a bit of insight into a world you are unaware of, read this book.