A Brief but Wondrous Book

brief-wondrous-life-of-oscar-wao-by-junot-diazI have been on a mission to improve myself lately and to make my life more enriching. I want to make myself a better person. One way I hope to do this is to become more interested and interesting. There is probably no better of achieving than by reading. I am actually a literature major, but ever since leaving school, the only things I read seem to be trashy romance novels (and hey, they are not without merit LOL). Nevertheless, I  wanted to expand my horizons a bit. In doing so, I discovered Juno Diaz. I am seriously blown away by his stories and his writing style. I remained completely riveted the whole time I was reading, despite the fact that these days I seem to have the attention span of a peanut.

The first book of his that I read was called The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. It is strange how deeply I related to the main character of Oscar, despite our differences. Why is it that I felt so in sync with seriously geeky Dominican male called Oscar with a severe weight problem? Well, I guess because Oscar is an outsider in the truest sense of the word, and I think all of us feel like that at some point in our lives. Also, Oscar and I are both on the ultimate quest for what we believe to be life’s greatest treasure: love. This book also chronicles the life of Oscar’s sister Lola, and his mother Beli—also outcasts to some degree, never seeming to find their place in life. This exquisitely told short history, for me, rivals my absolute favorite novel of all time Memoirs of a Geisha. I’m not going to tell you the story, because I hope you will read it for yourself. I promise, it is worth your time. You will totally get sucked into this one. It is both brutal and beautiful.

Just to entice you a teeny bit, I thought I’d share with you some quotes which refer to Oscar’s mother, Beli. I found her story to especially poignant.

“Beli at thirteen believed in love like a seventy-year-old widow who’s been abandoned by family, husband, children and fortune believes in God.”

“The thoughts he put in her head. Someone should’ve arrested him for it.”

“Here at last is her smile: burn it into your memory; you won’t see it often.”

“But folks always underestimate what the promise of a lifetime of starvation, powerlessness, and humiliation can provoke in a young person’s character.”

“She is sixteen and her skin is the darkness before the black, the plum of the day’s light, her breasts like sunsets trapped beneath her skin, but for all her youth and beauty she has a sour distrusting expression that only dissolves under the weight of immense pleasure. Her dreams are spare, lack the propulsion of a mission, her ambition is without traction. Her fiercest hope? That she will find a man. What she doesn’t yet know: the cold, the backbreaking drudgery of the factorias, the loneliness of Diaspora, that she will never again live in Santo Domingo, her own heart. What else she doesn’t know: that the man next to her would end up being her husband and the father of her two children, that after two years together he would leave her, her third and final heartbreak, and she would never love again.”

If you are looking for an amazing read, please check out The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I can’t wait to get started on some of Diaz’s other works. I’m always looking for a great book, so if you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them. Time to share with the class my lovelies. What is the best book you read recently?


  1. “The thoughts he put in her head. Someone should’ve arrested him for it.” LOVE.

    her breasts like sunsets trapped beneath her skin** WOW.

    Great sentence.

    I shall place this beautiful writing on my list. xx


  2. Thank you for sharing it with us! I shall take a look! I would love to make a recommendation but I haven’t read in ages (not even trashy romances 😉 , unfortunately. I used to love reading, I have to convince myself to stop, just stop, and sit for a moment and read a bit every night. It is something I used to quite enjoy.


  3. This book is going on my TBR shelf. Thanks for the recommendation, Caroline! One of my favorites from this past year of reading was Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. I also enjoyed “Wild” -Cheryl Strayed, and others I can’t think of on the spot b/c I have the memory of a peanut!

    Liked by 1 person

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