The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Dao


I happened to pick up the audio book from the library. I truly enjoyed the narration– it was so personable and soothing. The story was pretty interesting– revealing the voodoo superstitions in Dominican culture and talking about the political climate in the 50s. I learned a lot about how the three different generations dealt with issues of love, life, and identity under Trujillo’s dictatorship in the DR. I gained an insight into the terror and confusion that must have existed under dictatorship, where there is no democracy or human rights. There were some sad stories overall but some happy bits. Even through pain and suffering, people can find happiness somewhere– maybe that’s just life. I liked the unusual narrative style, and the metalepsis because some of it is told through flashback. Sometimes I spaced out due to the lulling voice. My favorite was the surprise ending and the personal change in all the characters. I thought Oscar, Lola and Junior were very well fleshed out characters, and I cared for their happiness. The relationships between the protagonists were very real, and I could understand the family problems that they were having and sympathize with each perspective. In particular, I resonated with the conflict of how a parent cannot bear to let their child (at whatever age) expose themselves to harm (either willingly or naively)? A good story, lots to think about in terms of personal freedom and the choices we make for love. This is a story of true bravery in heroes/heroines of all shapes and sizes. Also, thinking about how much our fates conspire against us, and what a person has to give up to do what is right for humanity. Warning that some of the parts were a bit violent… A very good thoughtful audiobook. I don’t think I could re-read it, though. It was pretty intense.

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