1. Miramax has bought the movie rights for Díaz’s novel. If you were the producer of this film, what actors would you choose to play the various characters? How would you describe the personalities of Díaz’s characters to the actors so they come across authentically and as true to the author’s intent?
2. Everyone tries to change Oscar’s attitude about himself, getting him to eat better, exercise more, and think better of himself. What would you have done differently if you were his mother, his sister, or one of his male friends?
3. Discuss the differences between Lola and Oscar. Why do you think they grew up to have such disparate personalities? Why was Lola’s self-image so much stronger than Oscar’s? Was Oscar’s weight to blame, or does it go deeper than that?
4. What do you think it was about Ybón that allowed her to see something special about Oscar? What did she see in him? Why did she need him? Why did she finally make love to him?
5. Discuss fate. What does fate mean to you? Do you think there are curses, such as the Fukú, that can haunt a person’s life or the lives of a whole family? Have you ever felt cursed? Have you known anyone who felt cursed?
6. Why do you think Beli was so hard on her children (Lola and Oscar)? Was she a bad mother? Was she just very strict? How did her constant harassment affect her children? Did it make them stronger, or did it weaken them?
7. Describe Lola and Oscar’s relationship. Was it based on love? Or did Lola resent having to take care of Oscar? How did Oscar feel about Lola? How did she affect him?
8. What is the main intent of the author with this story? Is it to expose the history of the Dominican Republic? Is it to show how the Dominican culture can affect its people even when they emigrate? Is it focused on the issue of obesity and the social restrictions it can place on an individual? Can it be summed up in general terms, such as the brutality one group can inflict on another? Or is there some deeper, more personal intent?
9. How would you sum up Yunior, who acts as narrator for parts of this book? Why is he unable to be faithful to Lola, whom he seems to love most of all? Does he have a personality defect, or do you think what he does is all right?
10. Compare La Inca with Beli. How do their mothering skills compare? Who do you think is more realistic? Who is more loving? Who is more successful?