with a readership of 80,000+ here on Goodreads alone, Oscar Wao's status as a literary best-seller and the "book everyone's reading" is fairly obvious. Combine with its setting in New York City, the fact that Dominicans are statistically the largest ethnic group in NYC but relatively a mystery to outsiders, and the formula for an "overweight Dominican nerd dreaming of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkein" is clear.
my opinion: pretty good, but not great. it was good to hear the internal life of the dominican community, but this book hasn't changed me, or altered my view of the world, or dramatically caught my breath at any point. i'll probably re-read this again based on so much awe-struck reviews, but I'm not personally recommending it as "absolute must read" that a lot of people are going off about.
this book has heaps of footnotes. it has literary pretentions mixed with geek culture fandom mixed with dominican history. there are parts that sparkle, and less impressive passages, but i guess while the crowd loved this thing, i was only moderately impressed.