Oscar, You’re Really Not So Wondrous
Every so often you pick up a prize winner and you have a moment where you: sigh. Is it just because I am not smart? I don’t get it. It’s just not that good. But ah, the pressure, the pressure to finish. It may turn a corner, accelerate, surprise, delight. I may just stop 100 pages from the end and then have everyone tell me it was the last 100 pages that sealed the deal for them.
C’mon Oscar, I am begging you to start turning the heat up.
Because you kind of stink right now.
I suppose I appreciate the voice–you tell your dominican story well, flipping incessantly between english and spanish in a kind of seamless rhythm. But I can’t help thinking if the reader didn’t speak a word of spanish, they’d be kind of pissed. (See? I am pissed for other people!) And the footnotes? Oscar, please stop that. 1 or 2 is funny–but every other page and I am skippinem. But then that bums me out because I think: “Maybe I would luvvvv this book if I knew what the $#()$&# footnotes said?”
The story swaps narrators: Oscar, then his sister, then his mother, Beli. At Beli’s turn, I stopped getting bored. Or maybe I am so friggin’ thankful that the footnotes are gone. And at that point, I am growing an eensy, weensy bit hopeful.
Someone out there going to tell me vale la pena? Because if you can’t, this libro aburrido is going on the nightstand and I’ll admit to being an underachiever.