Book Review: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really didn’t know what to expect from this book.
When I started reading it, I was sure I was going to slog through it and finish it out of a sense of obligation, but I just could not put it down.

By the end of the novel, I was so emotionally invested in every character. Even characters I hates at the beginning ended up being much fuller, rounder characters than I anticipated. Some people seem to have an issue with the use of slang, but to me, it seems authentic to the narrator of the story and did not detract from the beauty of the novel for me.

I did read Oscar as a little bit of a “nice guy” who whines constantly about not getting laid, but no one in this story is laid out as a hero. I don’t see this as Diaz trying to make Oscar an infallible being.

Also as a side note, I finished this book while giving high schools juniors a midterm exam and cried in front of all of them, so don’t read in public.

View all my reviews

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NaNoWriMo

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Well, I’ve done it.  I’ve officially finished my dissertation, and in less than two weeks, I will be defending it and (hopefully) pass and finish my Ph.D. journey.

 

But what does that mean?  Who I am without my doctoral classes?

That’s something I still need to figure out.  However, finishing my dissertation has offered me a new opportunity for writing – a return to fiction.

Since it is almost November, I have joined forces with another teacher at my school to form a NaNoWriMo group for students.  My reasoning is slightly selfish – it will also give me an excuse for writing a new novel.  I have an idea in my head, and I can not wait to get started.

In the meantime, I have also found time to work on my first novel.

Let the writing commence!

Editing Inspiration Thursday

“‘Yes, yes-‘ he’d said, nodding, ‘a schedule.  That’s what I’ve found, too.  Sometimes I simply stare at a blank sheet of paper, but I still sit here and stare at it for the whole period I’ve set aside for work.  Does alcohol help?'”

– Kurt Vonnegut

Mother Night

Year in Review

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I’ve been reading a lot about people who are none too pleased with the algorithms used to create Facebook’s “Year in Review” App.

When I first saw these popping up on other people’s Facebook pages, I thought I couldn’t wait until it showed up on mine. I love these little things, because I love my life and the people in it. I thought I would see pictures of my lovely daughter’s smiling face, my husband and I at Disney World, family celebrations and quiet nights with friends.

I got something very different. The first picture I saw was innocuous- a seven year-old picture of my husband and I at our wedding, sharing the first bite of cake. My mouth is in an open, mischievous smile as I fork some into his mouth, tilted upward. One of my favorite pictures. How could I not click on it to see what my year had for me?

The next picture was very different. The caption read “Finally home. Now the hard work begins.” There I am next to my husband on our bench, my hair wet from the shower I just had, the first one I had had in weeks. My smile is forced and lopsided, my eyes blank. Facebook, in all its infinite wisdom, decided that what I needed to remember most about my year was what I had tried the hardest to forget; that I was hospitalized, that I almost died, that my husband and parents had to take care of me like I was a child, that they had to plan for a future without me.

The other pictures were the same. Me in a hospital gown, my head covered with gauze and wires. Recovering at my house, were I had to be under constant surveillance. Pictures surrounded by colorful balloons and stick figures celebrating my horrible year.

The standard text for these posts is “it’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.” I immediately changed “great” to “terrible.” But then I felt a strange obligation to temper that, to not make others realize how sad the whole thing had made me. So I added “j/k, only half of it was terrible.”

And that’s mostly the truth.