I have not read your recent best-selling book, but congratulations on your enormous success with it. I have read one short story of yours involving a young man who perhaps has some kind of deformity that leaves him relegated to a life behind a wrestling mask and also some thing you wrote about food in Gourmet which had much less sex-talk and violence than the other thing. You're clearly very creative and talented and brilliant. Kudos.
However, I have a bone* to pick with you.
Although I myself have not yet read The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, my dear ol' mother is currently reading it. This woman raised me, nurtured me, and sent me away to a fancy college where I had the opportunity to study abroad** for a semester. The consequences of this arrangement are such that she now asks her Spanish-speaking daughter for translation help whenever necessary.
And your book. Your book. Makes such things necessary. In. Oh. So many ways.
Here is a snippet of the IM conversation (yeah, Mom's hip with the kids and their newfanlged technology) that took place earlier this MORNING (before my coffee):
Number1Mom48267: I have all these spanish words & phrases I have to look up
with an accent over the 2nd e
me: meterse is to insinuate oneself into
no te metes en mis cosas is like don't get up in my grill
Number1Mom48267: the phrase is (to an adolescent boy): Grab a muchacha y meteselo. It probably means "get into her" literally
what have you been....observing?
Number1Mom48267: How about this: Dale un galletazo
me: dale un galletazo***
give him/her some kind of chicken-related thing
possibly a blowjob?
it's all adolescent, sexually charged talk among friends
me: you hear this where?
Number1Mom48267: in the book I'm reading
one more: "without a speck of verguenza"
me: oh jeez are you reading junot diaz?
Number1Mom48267: yes, I am
me: verguenza is shame
as in what I'm feeling right now
So yeah. That's how it goes. It's like a bunch of seventh graders in East L.A. went to town on some Mad Libs and then my Mom found it and asked me to translate! My mom!!!
Dearest Junot, I beg you: next time you write a book with widespread popularity that appeals to suburban women who aren't Eva Langoria Parker and don't know what the hell you're saying, please please PLEASE supply a glossary. Or perhaps you could sell a companion guide! Your publisher will love it! It's win-win-win!! People would buy it! Hell, I would certainly buy it, for my Mom, you see, and give it to her, perhaps as a gift, but even if there was no occasion, and then she'd consult it, and look things up, and she wouldn't have to ask me, and all would be well!!!!!
In closing, ¿cómo se dice peignoir en español?
*A non-sexual bone. Also a non-violent bone.
**Actually, I studied pretty much nothing but broads every semester!! Ba-dum-bum! Hey-oh!!
***Turns out galletazo seems to mean an open-handed slap, so dale un galletazo means "bitch-slap him/her." I could have easily looked up such a thing in a companion guide. Instead, you, Mr. Diaz, you with your lack of a companion guide or glossary made me guess and say "blowjob" to my Mom!!!! In conclusion, this is still all your fault.