author : david foster wallace
pages : [paperback] 1079
memorable quote : Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else.
Somewhere in the not-so-distant future, the screwed-up residents of Ennet House, a Boston halfway house for recovering addicts, and students at the Enfield Tennis Academy search for the master copy of a movie so dangerously entertaining that its viewers die in a state of catatonic bliss. Explores essential questions about what entertainment is, why we need it, and what it says about who we are.
First I need to admit that I needed to read this enormous novel for school and that in itself might have detracted from the potential enjoyment I might have gotten from Infinite Jest. Simultaneously, though, I wonder if I’d ever choose to pick up this massive volume on my own. Just browsing through Goodreads briefly shows that a lot of people love and highly praise this book. I for one think it was far longer than was necessary to convey the themes and ideas that Wallace held.
I just didn’t enjoy the writing style. There would be endless pages of useless information, clumps with no breakage into paragraphs. That was tiresome to get through and I would never remember all of the information in there, whether it’s important or not. And a lot of it was important and ended up going right over my head.
I was particularly frustrated with the ending, mostly because I had to look it up to see what connections I was supposed to have made that didn’t really happen for me. If I’d wanted to learn all of that I would have had to start re-reading the book, which I really don’t have time to. This book is not only massive, most of the text is very dense and hard to get through. It takes hundreds of pages for you to make connections between the different scenes shown and for progress to happen. I didn’t find the endnotes useful, either; half of the time they were just distracting and didn’t provide much information alongside the text so I stopped using them.
If you’re up for a challenge I’d definitely say to go for this book, but you’ll need to have plenty of time and patience on your side. This is going to take a while to get through and once you’re finished you’ll probably want to start reading it again-not for enjoyment, but because there are some hints at the ending that only show up in the beginning, when you aren’t ready to process them.