switterbug (Betsey)’s review of Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Drew (new)

Drew Great review, but...you think Ada is emotionally sterile? I think you're right that Wallace put way more of himself into IJ than Nabokov put into Ada, but it was still pretty affecting to me.


switterbug (Betsey) I did love Ada, and it is still one of my favorite books of all time. But, it hit me cerebrally, intellectually, rather than emotionally. I do plan to read it again some day. I am now a more sophisticated reader than when I first read it, and perhaps I will get the emotional connection the second time around.


message 3: by Steve (new)

Steve Outstanding! You set this up well then supplied just the right amount of information to tempt us without sating us. The quotes were very effective, too. I especially liked the one about the loop of recognizing his own pettiness, copping to it, then feeling good about his honesty. As you said, "self-conscious about being self-conscious." Well put.

I suspect Wallace's biggest fans will find almost anything written about him and not by him lacking in some way. He had so many facets, and they reflect differently in the eyes of each beholder. We inherently mistrust any one author's interpretation as being definitive.


message 4: by Drew (new)

Drew Or at least, we trust it less than we trust Wallace's own writing. Which says something important about his honesty--just one of his facets, of course.


message 5: by Steve (new)

Steve Good point, Drew.


switterbug (Betsey) Yes, good point. And, thank you, Steve!

Yeah, I hope there will be other bios, because as you said, we will always find SOMETHING lacking in any book written about him.


message 7: by B0nnie (new)

B0nnie Thanks switterbug for your thoughts. You are a true DFW fan. I keep changing my mind about reading this, but you've pushed me back onto the yes side.


switterbug (Betsey) Bonnie--I still feel that reading IJ gives you more DFW than any bio, but this is a good book, overall, and there are some true nuggets in here.


message 9: by Lemar (new)

Lemar What a terrific review from a fellow DFW lover. I really appreciate your work in doing this because I am a bit leery of diving into a book that might annoy me by not getting what I loved about Wallace's prose. For me as well Wallace was the one. Through wonderful connections with Vonnegut, Jonathan Lethem, Dana Spiotta, Adam Langer, Bruce ChatwinSeymour Krim, Tom Wolfe, Ken Kesey, ok I'll stop, I had come close but no one had managed to pull off putting it all together, what it was like to grow up in Americca in the last half of the 20th century until I read Wallace.

I read a biography of Bob Marley that started with a premise of how everything he hoped for and dreamed of withered and died, betrayed him like his health. To me that was bullshit and it annoyed me no end to have someone ascribe an arc to a life that did not fit.

But I am hungry to know more about the people I connect with through music or literature better. Sometimes knowing more about their lives intensifies the connection. I can better imagine what it was like for them to create. Kurt Vonnegut credits his son with saying that the meaning of life is helping each other get through this thing whatever it is. Easier said than done. In the midst of debilitating pain Wallace found the strength to communicate to others. He helped. As a good author can do he created a connection with me the reader, I heard him, understood him in my way and I deeply appreciate his efforts.

A strong urge to footnote is presenting itself now! It is wonderful to be a part of a community that shares the love of his work. No one in my physical life has fully felt what is so evident in the reviews of switterbug and Greg, thanks.


switterbug (Betsey) Thank you, Lemar. What a beautiful and tender message you wrote. DFW has a way of deeply affecting those of us who love his work. I still feel like I can hear his heart beating. 9/12 is the day I really mourn every year.


message 11: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Geller I am struggling to finish this book because to loved Wallace's books and can't bear reading about him.


switterbug (Betsey) Yeah, sometimes it's heavy to bear.


switterbug (Betsey) Free wrote: "I consider this review more insightful than the book and wonder why with all the reviewer's reservations he crowns it with four stars. Maybe that's become a GR necessity."

Hi, Free--I had to re-read my review to see where I had a lot of reservations, but I only see one, really. Can you clarify, please? Also, what is meant by a GR necessity?I really did like this book a lot.


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