Our next Shelf Awareness book selection for the month of July is The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz!
Synopsis from Amazon: “Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister—dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fukú—a curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA. Encapsulating Dominican-American history, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao opens our eyes to an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and explores the endless human capacity to persevere—and risk it all—in the name of love.”
This is a highly acclaimed novel and has won many prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Time Magazine #1 Best Fiction Book of the Year (2007).
Personally, I am very excited to share this book with Shelf Awareness Book Club. I first read this book my senior year of college for a multi-ethnic American literature class (I know you’re thinking, of course Kathryn would take a lofty English class such as this), and I was immediately struck by the rich multi-generational story and complicated characters within it. This novel is is full of history, folklore, myths, pop culture references (most especially to The Lord of the Rings, so if you are a Tolkein fan you will enjoy this book!), and cultural dialogue. Yes, I will say there is some profanity in this book (swearing and otherwise offensive language, as well as some adult situations), but it does not detract from the purpose of the story. The story, characters, and language in this book could, in a way, be described as irreverent – but don’t let this put you off! From the first time I read it, Oscar Wao became one of my favorite novels, and I look forward to a robust discussion of the story, characters, and themes at our next meeting!
Title: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
This month’s Book Master: Kathryn Walters
Meeting Time/Place: Thursday, July 27, in Classroom 2, 12 pm. Please bring a potluck item to share, if you wish!
Activities: To Be Determined
Discussion Questions: 1) Which character was your favorite? 2) Which main character’s part of the story (Oscar, Lola, or Belicia) was your favorite and why? 3) What is your big take away from this novel?
Penalty: Fuku/Zafa: For those who did not finish the novel, anytime anyone in the room says “fuku” you must yell out “zafa!” Failure to do so will result in a great fuku upon you and your family! (Not really….but no matter what you believe, fuku believes in you!)