I’m finally done with this book. I can’t say that I didn’t like the book, but I can’t say that I enjoyed it either. I didn’t care about the characters at all; the only character I would’ve liked to know more about was Lola, but we don’t get to know about her in the book as much as we get to hear about her mother’s story. I think the problem is that the title of the book and the description about what it’s about is misleading. I was expecting a novel about Oscar Wao, and we only get to hear about Oscar during the first few pages and the last few pages of the book. The author wants to tell the story of Oscar’s family instead of Oscars which didn’t interest me at all.
I think Junot Diaz wanted to express his feelings about Trujillo, Balaguer, and Dominican politics in general and used this story as an excuse. I would’ve preferred to read another book on this topic and have him focus on the story I thought I was going to get
but didn’t: the story of Oscar, the overweight, lovesick nerd who wanted to become the Dominican Tolkien.
I liked the author’s style in general, even if I really didn’t appreciate the way he told the story, but I think all the geeky references would make this book a hard read for a non-geek or worse, a non-Dominican non-geek, since what makes the book amusing are all the geeky and Dominican culture references which as a Dominican geek I could appreciate and enjoy (a lot). He tries to be “raw” with the language, but after a while it just gets to be a little too obscene, for my taste anyway. And the constant use of words in Spanish, makes this novel have the following pre-requisites in order to enjoy it:
a)You must be a geek (I consider myself a geek and there are some references I didn’t get)
b)You must be dominican (in order to understand and appreciate the dominican culture references)
c)You must know Spanish (this guy uses Spanish for half of the stuff he says in the book)
I’m not a literary critic, just someone that loves a good story in general, but I would like to know what would make a novel like this one win a Pulitzer Prize. How can a non-Dominican geek enjoy this novel at all?
I will take a break from Junot Diaz and read his other works sometime next year, I don’t want to be disappointed too soon again.