I hate that I hit my 52 books on a book that I really really didn’t like. I know that David Foster Wallace was a genius. I really feel bad that I’ve never read anything else of his (yes, yes, I know I should Infinite Jest) but after dragging myself through the essays of A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, it’s unlikely I will give him another shot.
The first essay was about his tennis career; kind of math-y but fairly interesting. The second essay concerned TV, and while it feels rather dated now, I’m sure it was shiny and new in the 1990s. Maybe I should have picked up the book twenty years ago. The third essay, I actually liked (and it’s the only reason I’m awarding two stars). Wallace discusses his experiences at the Illinois State Fair – the detail is rich, the people-watching is hysterical and his writing is impeccable.
It all went downhill from there. His writing is dense and inaccessible. There was a whole essay on David Lynch that bored me to tears. I’m a pretty intelligent person, and I actually like a lot of stuff that other people might find boring (see: the book on salt that I read last year, then talked my husband’s ear off about, then watched a documentary about the same damn thing). But I’ll admit it: Wallace is either too dull for me, or too smarty-pants for me.
Or maybe some combo of the two.
I just didn’t get the appeal.