Yunior is the narrator of the story. The story about the Dominican-American nerd, geeky and grossly fat Oscar de Léon, living with his aggressive mother, drugged out uncle and pretty sister Lola in a ghetto in New Jersey. Yunior is the on again - off again boyfriend of Lola and he tells the story of this family, who believe that a fukú is looming over their family. A fukú is a Dominican curse and it does seem like Oscar and his family has been unlucky for most of their family's story.
The book is divided into several main chapters, dealing with the lives of Oscar, his mother and Lola. Yunior is very much a part of both Oscar's and Lola's life, so we also get to know him quite well, being both a by-stander and directly involved in things.
The main parts revolve around Oscar's childhood, his mother's childhood in Dominican Rebuplic/Santo Domingo, Lola's puberty/teen years, Oscar's and Yunior's college years and finally their vacation as adults in Santo Domingo.
It is a book about love, hate, coming of age, South American life under dictators and much more. The story is pretty straightforward and it evoked many different feelings in me. I loved Oscar and felt his pain when he, again and again, never had any luck with the ladies (as opposed to Yunior who lived his college years walking from bed to bed). I was mad with Oscar and Lola's mother, who loomed aggressively over their lives, being one of the most bitchy mothers I have encountered in literature, but at the same time I understood where she was coming from after having learned about her childhood.
The story has a flavor of magic realism, but the writing is a definite 21. century whereas Gabriel Garcia Marquez may feel a bit oldfashioned and Isabel Allende's books may feel a bit "female", this is very contemporary. So very highly recommendable and I wish I hadn't read it yet!
This is read as part of the Read Your Own Books Challenge.