Sunday, June 17, 2012

Reading THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO, Chapters 3 & 4

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

This post is part of a read-along hosted by Plaza Familia. Chapters 5 and 6 will be discussed the week of June 18 and readers may post their reactions to the book at a Linky provided on Thursday, 6/21 at their site. To read my thoughts on Chapters 1 and 2, click here.

Interesting that my memory held on to only the humorous aspects of this story, por que verdaderamente, what woman would want to remember another woman's desgracia? Madre mia.

In Chapter 3, the reader meets Oscar's mama, Hypatia Belicia (Beli) Cabral, an orphaned Dominicana who's saved from a locked chicken-coup by her mother-aunt, La Inca. Beli, whose parents were rumored to have been murdered by Trujillo's regime, comes from a high-profile familia in the DR. Her father had been a doctor and her mother a nurse and young Beli's pagina en blanco, or Lost Years are so horrible that the author only alludes to them.

La Inca reminds Beli every day that she will go to college and grow up to be somebody important like her parents. Trying to instill ambitions in her, she arranges for her to attend prestigious schools, where disillusionment sets in for Beli when she realizes that lineage means nothing in a country where European features are valued above being morena. Rather than bury herself in her studies to get ahead (as her daughter, Lola, does later), Beli turns her attention to the opposite sex, which is where her tragic story turns more tragic.

In Chapter 4, the reader meets Yunior, Lola's, womanizing ex-boyfriend and the first-person narrator, who becomes Oscar's roommate to help keep an eye on him. I'm not too crazy about this guy. Seems to have the best intentions, but rather than helping Oscar, he ends up making matters worse. It's at this point in the story that Oscar is so depressed, he takes a flying leap off the New Brunswick train bridge, and fails at taking his own life. Oscar's brief wondrous life has a few more chapters to go. I wanted to see Oscar succeed and find his peace, but the reader already knows that the nerd's future is bleak.

The cane fields where Beli's beaten within inches of her life at the end of Chapter 3 will come into play, again.