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Pulitzer Book Club Inclusion Guide


"The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz



• Barack Obama first U.S. Black president
• California Supreme Court rules marriage defined as opposite-sex couples unconstitutional



Junot Diaz was born in the Dominican Republic, raised in NJ and is a Rutgers grad. Diaz claims he organizes his life around eating and pastelitos are an obsession. Diaz revealed in an essay that he was the victim of sexual assault as a child.


Featured Reader Wanted!

Featured Reader

– Share your key take-away about inclusion in this book in a sentence or two.
– Write a paragraph or two (up to 250 words) to describe your thoughts on exclusion/inclusion in the book, why you related or did not connect with the book, and why you think reading, inclusion and dialog about inclusion matter.
– Identify the name and website address of a cause you support with an inclusive mission.


Rutgers nerd boy falls in love; NJ, Santo Domingo trauma


Beli’s epic beatdown in the cane field is echoed years later with Oscar’s beating.


Novel’s Dominican historical backstory explained in irreverent footnotes which makes historical figures and events more real, clear and awful than a history book or news story.


352 pages or 13 CDs/16 hours. Many snarky historical footnotes, lots of untranslated Spanish.


No regrets. What you didn’t do hurts more than an of the moment penalty.


A family cursed by Trujullio’s dictatorship/genocide/police brutality/culture of fear as well as fuku. A young Dominican American boy bullied because of his ethnicity, size and nerdy vibe.


Make plátanos; eat a bunch if you want bigger boobs.


“But if these years have taught me anything it is this: you can never run away.Not ever. The only way out is in.”


Hang some posters that Oscar would appreciate (Star Trek, anime, etc.), play Akira on continuous loop, and set up a gaming station.


Have your explained something really bad that happened on a curse, bad luck, karma, or destiny?
How have you/can you help somebody rebound when you fundamentally disagree with that person’s assessment of why something happened? Can you make a difference for a person who does not want your help?
Dominican Diaspora (flight or dispersion from homeland country or region) is part of the novel. Where is diaspora happening today and why? How have victimized immigrants to the U.S. been treated by the U.S. over time?


Go people watching at the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick, NJ (or a nearby college). Hit the boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ during the off season; get some fries. If you visit the Dominican Republic check out the Memorial Museum of Dominican Resistance in Santo Domingo.


Star Trek
Akira (1988)
2019 stage adaptation in Spanish; no screen adaptation


Oscar Wilde, J. R. R. Tolkien, Hemingway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”

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