Review: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn’t expecting this book to be so sad. I’ll be honest, when I first started reading the book I knew more about the author than the synopsis. I read one of his short stories in undergrad and always planned on reading this book but never got around to it. Always had a different excuse to not pick it up.

Well, I finally read it, and it was–it was something. The different perspectives, the family, the entire history and origin story of their curse and the island itself, no matter how far they were from it (even Japan) they were still connected to it. It was always a part of their identity, and a loud part at that, even when they hated it they wanted you to know they hated it.

There was just so much sadness in this story. Obviously Oscar’s story was the most tragic, but his sister had her low points, his mother too. Many of the women on the island and in his high school class also suffered loss. A lot of the descriptions included just how guapo and guapa the characters were, almost like it was just another layer to a mask hiding the pain they’re feeling. Like it was some sorta secret the story wanted to let the reader in on, that even pretty people feel pain, and in some cases a similar pain to Oscar who was far from pretty.

I can tell this is the kind of story that’s going to sit with me for a while, and maybe I should’ve waited a day before writing this review. I’m not entirely sure how I should end this other than saying–you should probably read this book.

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Review: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & ClayThe Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was so close to being my favorite book of all time but it just couldn’t dethrone A Confederacy of Dunces. Before anyone gets confused, these two books are nothing alike so don’t think I’m comparing them. Anyway, the story of Kavalier and Clay is one of family, loss, and self-discovery.

Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay are comic artists in New York City before, during, and after American involvement in World War 2.

The story of Kavalier feels more tied to reality. Throughout the book, he is just looking for something tangible to give his anger and frustrations an outlet. He feels guilt for being the only member of his family to escape Czechoslovakia and escape the Nazis. His success in America furthers that guilt because it should be something he shares with his family and can’t even fight them as an American until Pearl Harbor.

His partner and cousin, Sam, on the other hand, supports Kavalier’s fight but never feels the same burden as Joe who is not just trying to fight for and save the Jewish people, but specifically his family.

It’s a whirlwind of emotions and well worth the read.

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