I loved his books of essays. I wanted to like this book; I wanted to finish it. It’s supposed to be a funny and experimental commentary on culture and a grim view of the world – a dystopia set in the near future. Yeah, I got the humor and irony – but I needed a hatchet to get through all complicated sentences. Other reviewers are head over heels in love with this book. Some even suggest that if you don’t have the fortitude to get through the this book, you may not be as smart as you think. OK, so be it. Proving to the world that I am reasonably smart is just not enough of a challenge to keep reading this tome.
I found it too convoluted and a bit pretentious for my taste. Was David Foster Wallace so revered that an editor could not suggest changes and reign in all the extraneous and unnecessarily difficult language? I made it to page 115 but I just couldn’t bear the thought of another 989 pages. And the footnotes, my God, the footnotes – nearly 100 pages of them (I think). Really? A book shouldn’t be this hard to read.
I feel a little dumber given how important this work is supposed to be. Like James Joyce’s Ulysses, which l also never finished (sorry, Mrs. Floyd), it was literally and figuratively too heavy for me. I feel guilty, and a bit shamed. Still, it’s unlikely that I’ll pick up either of these books again. Off they go to Half-Price Books. Maybe someone else will enjoy them.