Fuku: This is the one word the caught my attention when reading this book. In this book, Fuku is the curse of love. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Lao is a contemporary fiction book about Oscar, a high school sophomore who lives in Paterson, New Jersey with his mother Belicia, his sister, Lola and his uncle. Oscar’s mother relocates to the United States of America and on her way there she meets the father of her children (Oscar and Lola), he later leaves her.
The reason why I read this book to completion is because it was one of my book club reads. The beauty of book clubs is to challenge you to read books outside you comfort zone. The one take out for me from this book is the Dominican culture and history. The descriptions and the stories are rich.
My biggest disappointment was the use of Spanish slang, which lost me. I kept losing the plot, sometimes the context within which the descriptions were done brought me back on track. Secondly, I had issues with the writing style that the author used. He used a narrator that remained vague, the main characters kept switching, which kept you off track.
One of the themes that stood out for me is love and the struggle for Oscar to get acceptance. You empathize with him. He has bad experiences with his experience with love. The second theme that came out was the oppressive leadership under the dictator Rafael Trujillo. He ruled as an unelected military strong man under the figurehead of presidents (Wikipedia).
Did I relate with Oscar? Yes because you and I have both had a friend like Oscar in our lives. He really struggled to fit in. This book is about love, finding love, struggling to fit in to a world and seeking acceptance. It’s about hope, something we all hold so dearly.
I would recommend this book if you are a fan of culturally diverse stories.