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Ratings and Reviews

Overall rating

4.1 out of 5
36
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  • 9 person found this review helpful

    9 people found this review helpful

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    Phenomenal; Not as tough as it's reputation

    Infinite Jest has a reputation for being one of those books that everyone starts and no one finishes. People say it's too long; too difficult. I did find it a bit of a slog for the first 100 pages, but once I learned to trust that the author would fill in the blanks for me over time, everything became awesome. An incredible work of humour and gravitas. I can't recommend it enough.
  • 2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

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    Long, but entertaining and rewarding

    The short review of this book: some few parts of I.J. can be a little slow and drag on, and it is certainly a "challenging "read (as it was intended to be) but as a whole it is a very rewarding book; not rewarding because it took so long to complete but rewarding because of the ideas suggested and the manner in which they were portrayed. Every character is enjoyable, or at the very least an interesting subject which contributes to how captivating the novel is. Overall I.J. was worth the 1000+ pages (and lengthy footnotes) and changed the way I think about how a book should read, which I think is a marker of a truly great (and epic) novel. The long review of this book (and some suggestions if you plan on buying I.J.): Like the first review on here, you really do have to trust the layout of the novel and that David Foster Wallace will fill in the many blanks, found throughout, later on. As I noted at the start of the review, this can challenge the reader as big pieces of the plot are (sometimes subtly) answered in response to questions that were introduced in some cases many a chapters ago. I found myself jumping back to to different chapters throughout the book to ensure that I was comprehending these fragmented pieces of plot. In light of this I think that next time I read I.J. (I'll explain later why I'm actually going to re-read this whale of a book again) I think I'm going to buy a physical copy of this book so I can bookmark different chapters and footnotes because I found it really difficult to jump exactly where I wanted to on my e-reader (but to defend the e-reader when it comes to reading the book linearly, just touching the footnote number automatically takes you to the footnote which makes the process faster... which is nice because there are over 300 footnotes). To get more into the layout of I.J. (without revealing any spoilers), I'd say that as a whole roughly the first half of the book is comprised of a few slow parts (as DFW introduces the world of I.J.) and some challenging parts (e.g. reading along and not really knowing what the hell is going on- just trust that that will all be answered- and I found quite a few chapters were loaded with words I'd never heard before [actually another case for an e-reader that gives you the definition of a word when you touch it]). But what kept me engaged was the general story line as well as some chapters and segments of the novel which were written to absolute perfection. DFW can really craft a paragraph (even if that paragraph is just one long run on sentence) in the most smooth, comprehensive way in the sense that you can truly feel the mood and scene of that part of the story. I will be honest about a third of the way through the book I took almost two months off of reading it because I felt I was getting no where. In light of this comes the second half of the book which I found really picked up in story line, a lot of questions began getting answered, and I was glued to the page until the very end. In short, do not give up halfway or a quarter way through this novel, as you'll be missing out in the end. One last thing I have to mention before I finish this up in order to really campaign this book is the light parts and the heavy parts throughout I.J. I found these really gave the book a unique personality. I think a big reason I enjoyed I.J. is due to it's comic side; characters such as Pemulis, Troelsch, Marathe, the general concept of the Wheelchair Assassins, and just some of the ways DFW crafts a sentence had me laughing out loud often. I rated Infinite Jest 4 of 5 stars because I found that with the long break I took part way through the book I forgot some key parts to the plot line and I think this kept me from really grasping the entirety of what DFW wanted to get out with the novel which is why I'm keen on re-reading this book eventually. It's certainly challenged me as a reader (a large part as to why I'm open to a re-read) and once you read the book you'll find that that in itself is a major idea put out in I.J. I'm confident that once I go over it again I'll give it a 5 of 5 stars.
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    Life

    Laughter and tears. I think of Shakespeare and the tragic comedy when I review my journey through, "Infinite Jest".
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Wonderful, Absolutely Wonderful

    Howling fantods!! What a ride! There’s no way to review this book without giving away crucial details that should remain hidden. Suffice to say that this is a work of genius. I feel like I’ve gotten to know the man who was DFW as a friend. In this book he opens up, lets us in. It’s a wonderful tribute to his thoughts. Do I recommend the book? I can’t say. It’s impossible to recommend this type of book. When I got to the end, I wanted to immediately start over and read it again. It’s so, so wonderful. Why then, not recommend it wholeheartedly? Well……that’s a bit more difficult to explain and in no way do I mean to insult a reader’s intelligence. This book is so very different than any other I’ve read. It seems to be intended for a very specific audience. The book requires…..actually demands…..a reader’s time and attention. It is not to be skimmed or quickly read. Every word of the endless descriptions and run-on sentences is crucial and requires that undivided attention. This is a tiring way to read. As awesome as this book is, if one cannot put in that commitment, this is not the book to pick up. I’ve read 1000-page tomes in a third that time, so it’s not like I’m a novice at a huge tome. This book is not to be rushed. It’s written not to be. Oh….and the Footnotes: they are crucial to the story & should not be overlooked. It is at times overwhelming to flip to a footnote and find a 16 ½ page dissertation on some point or some character’s history. That said, the footnotes were fascinating. Absolutely fascinating. DFW nailed this concept and technique. So, yes I would recommend it highly to someone who is committed to the book but one can’t know whether one fits that description until one delves into the pages. Was I bored at points throughout the book? Yes indeedy! The details are sometimes stifling. There are a lot of details. Again, it’s tiring and seems pointless & tedious at times. But these are exactly the times to pay extra attention to every word. Somewhere in the pages & pages of what seems endless detail is a tiny nugget of something of importance. DFW slips these in. It’s a bit like a test: Did you see the nugget? DFW rewards you with an incredible reading experience (but even then a second….maybe third….reading is in order. The most astute reader will miss many nuggets the first time through). Did you miss the nugget? The book hovers on becoming superficial and disjointed. I loved the book. Every page. Tedious or not. If a reader is willing to commit to this book, I highly, highly recommend it. Be prepared for a long, hard climb. But be assured that it’s well worth it. So.....what is the basic theme of this fascinatingly disjointed roller-coaster of a ride of a book? Commitment. What DFW demands of his readers, he spoofs at in his book. Redemption. While not a foregone conclusion, if one has the commitment, one may find redemption. But then, maybe not. Is this book joke on the reader? Maybe the most infinite jest of them all. I laugh with DFW at the joke. Sometimes you've just got to laugh and this is one of those times. Thank you, DFW, for a wonderful piece of writing. Awesomely done. Kudos!
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