The Malden Book Club: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

diazTwo things I like to look for in a novel: something familiar and something foreign.

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.

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4 thoughts on “The Malden Book Club: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

  1. Reading a book (nerd) about a nerd (nerd) makes you a double nerd. Wait, It has history in it too!? Triple nerd.

  2. I really hate the trend now of people saying they are nerds thinking its like counter culture or some shit and thinking it makes them anti cool and thus de facto cool. Then when i try to talk to them about nerdy stuff they dont know what im talking about, despite the fact that they just got done telling me how great watchmen was and how they love to read “graphic novels” and they remember how great the transformers cartoon was then they say stuff like “yeah i love transformers! optimus prime was a gorilla! Thats sooooo cool”….i really hate that.
    What were you saying about books mike?

  3. Since all of media now is either run by nerds, caters to nerds, and makes movies, books, and video games for nerds, it’s now almost nerdy to be cool. Which makes you in a minority and an outcast. Which would make you a nerd again. Thus repeating the cycle.

    This is not the time i’ve heard that “Optimus Prime as a gorilla” B.S. Those people probably thing they’re big nerds for watching “ReBoot” as well.

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