Michelle's Reviews > A Confederacy of Dunces

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
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May 17, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: novels, disappointments
Read in January, 1995

I thought the book was ok. One of my old boyfriends recommended it to me, and while I was reading it I told him what an asshole I thought Ignatius J. Reilly was, and that I was sick of hearing about his valve. He got pissed off at me and told me that I didn't get it. He said Ignatius was a misunderstood genius stuck in a shitty town with no one who understood him. To be honest, my eyes kind of glazed over and I don't remember the rest of his rant, but I finished the book anyway. I think the most valuable thing I learned was to lie on my left side to fart.

[One of my pet peeves is when someone says, "You just don't get it." No, I get it, I just don't like it. One time I saw this shitty band (I don't remember their name) open for the White Stripes, and they kept saying, "You guys don't get it. Some of you get it, but the rest of you just don't get it." NO, you guys just SUCK!]
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02/02 marked as: read

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-50 of 56) </span> <span class="smallText">(56 new)</span>


Shelly Well said Booby. And I am so with you on this one. I mean, some of the feedback I've seen on the book here on GR has me considering rereading it, but, there's so much other stuff on my "to read" list that if I do it won't be for a long time.
Apparently, it was funny.

I like your rock show story. I have a similar (but much lamer) one: Once while working at Whole Foods I was stacking beer up against a wall directly opposite from the ice. These two "wiseguys" walked by and go "Look! Organic Ice! Ha! Ha!" I just stared at them. Then the one goes "She doesn't get it!" So I go "Oh, I get it. It's just not funny" Then I got all scared they were gonna go tell a manager on me. They didn't. Whew. But what jackasses!


Amanda I'm with you. This book is stupid and I hate it. And can respect that it's a pulitzer prize winner--it is a well-written and original story--but it's gross! Ew, ew, ew! I was sort of feeling guilty for not liking this book, because as Shelly says, some of the GR feedback makes you reconsider; but no, now that I read what you two are saying here, I REFUSE to change my mind. Ew.


message 3: by Tera (new)

Tera I thought this book was gross and horrible too. Some guy recommended it to me too! (what is it with men and farting?) I couldn't finish it because I could find nothing redeemable about it. Good for you atleast finishing it.


message 4: by Shelly (last edited Mar 16, 2009 07:30AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Shelly This has nothing to do with this review, but since it's popped up on my update feed I came back to it and would like for you to know that I did NOT link Amy Sedaris' book in my comment. As much as I am a fan of hers, I am not a fan of insidious marketing techniques. I noticed this in someone else's comment that said something like "I like you" too. I assumed they'd linked the book, and didn't understand why. Now I know it's just a dirty, dirty trick. :(


Amanda I like you


Amanda Hmmm... Why'd that happen, I wonder?


Amanda Ignatius J. Reilly is NOT misunderstood.


Shelly Just wait... It'll link the book.

Ignatius J. Reilly is insufferable.


message 9: by Michelle (last edited Mar 16, 2009 08:25AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Michelle He is an ass. Why the hell did I give this thing three stars? I'm changing it to two.


Shelly Hooray! I LIKE YOU!!!


message 11: by Michelle (last edited Mar 16, 2009 09:35AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Michelle I like you!


(Why didn't it work for me? Someone must have complained to the GR gods.)


Jackie "the Librarian" There are some books that only a guy can love. This is one of them.


RandomAnthony (what is it with men and farting?)

If you have to ask I don't know I can explain it:)


Amanda Please don't! :)


RandomAnthony I can try. I can only try.


Michelle I tried to get my ex to read this book. He would have loved Ignatius. (This was the ex that threw his farts at me.)


Lydia I like your review, and whole-heartedly agree. I get it, I just don't like it.


message 18: by Dave (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dave Russell You guys don't get it.


Michelle !!!!!!!




Jesseehenthorn Tera wrote: "I thought this book was gross and horrible too. Some guy recommended it to me too! (what is it with men and farting?) I couldn't finish it because I could find nothing redeemable about it. Good..."

I'm not sure why girls only take away farting from this majestic adventure through literature. There is a lot of social commentary intertwined throughout the pages of this book. You're supposed to find Ignatius revolting!


Brian R. Mcdonald I admit that I don't get this book; however, if I did get it I still wouldn't like it.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Michelle: I wonder if you and I dated the same asshole .....


Michelle Was his name Chris?


Benno wait... you are right AND wrong! Ignatius IS an asshole, and a totally unlikeable protagonist. He isn't meant to be likeable, he is rediculous! But the characters around him? Many are wonderful! Jones, Trixie, etc. Hilarious book, by my lights.


Michelle Oh, I know Ignatius is meant to be ridiculous. I have liked plenty of characters who were not meant to be liked. This book just didn't work for me. I was irritated rather than amused.

I don't remember any of the peripheral characters. Yes, it has been many years since I read the book, but they didn't stay with me the way other characters have. For example, Dostoevsky's peripheral characters are almost more interesting than his main characters.


Scott4999 I took this book the complete opposite of your friend. Ignatius J. Reilly is an insufferable liberal, just like ones you find everyday on college campuses and on the TV. The book Lampoons him throughout and his interactions are hilarious. The book gets 4-5 stars from me because it was so entertaining to watch the failure of his ideology. He is insufferable just like Liberalism. that is how i took the book,read it twice.


message 27: by Ben (new)

Ben Schofield "He got pissed off at me and told me that I didn't get it. He said Ignatius was a misunderstood genius stuck in a shitty town with no one who understood him"

Your exboyfriend thought Ignatius was a misunderstood genius? That irritates me more than Ignatius did.

Just watched a video where Zach Galifianakis facetiously said he wants to play Ignatuis in a move. MUST HAPPEN.


Michelle Your exboyfriend thought Ignatius was a misunderstood genius? That irritates me more than Ignatius did.

Thank you.

At one point I read that Will Ferrell was attached to play Ignatius. Zach would probably be better.


message 29: by Addy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Addy Yeah, your boyfriend didn't get it either, though I agree with him that it's recommendable. =)


message 30: by Mary (new)

Mary Amen. :)


message 31: by Addy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Addy Scott4999 wrote: "Ignatius J. Reilly is an insufferable liberal, just like ones you find everyday on college campuses and on the TV."

Support your claim, Sir! Liberal education is principally founded in Enlightenment, but Ignatius finds most of his principles in a rejection of even the Renaissance...


Catbunnything Your review made me laugh because of what your ex-bf said. "A misunderstood genius" lol. More like an educated idiot! I thought the book was hilarious in its ridiculousness ^^ But also shocking in its applications to real life.


message 33: by Zee (new) - added it

Zee Funny, so many people saying this is a book only a guy could like. My girlfriend recommended I read this.

Whenever so many people feel so strongly negative about something, it's usually worth checking out.


message 34: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Cole I love this book! Not because I think the "hero" is some misunderstood genius, but because he's the spitting image of a jackass I grew up with in every respect. Wholey unsumpathetic, self-absorbed, lives in and moves through his own imaginary world that overlaps our own, one where he's at the top of the food chain and not the bottom.


message 35: by Joe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joe Beausoleil Sad that you missed the whole point. your ex bf is lucky he escaped your tallons.


Anastasia I love this book and I have re-read it many times. You "got" the book, Ignatius is an asshole. That is a perfectly valid reason not to enjoy the book, but it is a large part of why I love it so much. John Kennedy Toole is audacious in how far he goes to depict Ignatious' monstrous self-absorbtion as well as the quiet tragedy of his loneliness. That is why I find it such a delight. I would run, not walk away from anyone that would term him a misunderstood genius, you are well-rid of that ex-boyfriend.


Jonesmikey Ignatius is an idiot and this book is one of my favorites ever.


message 38: by Magnifico (new) - added it

Magnifico Giganticus Scott, you are as full of shit as Ignatius. Right wing douche.


Michael Some of you very well might "get it." None of you have demonstrated that you do. I won't either. I'm sure you're all special in your own way. You know, you can not get it and not like it anyway. It's ok. You don't need a reason.


message 40: by Andy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andy I agree that Ignatius is an insufferable jackass, but I liked the book partially because of that. It's part of the reason that Arrested Development is funny to me. None of the characters are truly likable, but you can see elements of what you dislike in real people, so you can revel in the bad things that happen to them. At the same time, simply seeing an unlikeable character visited with a list of bad events would not be as satisfying as watching the entire story unfold.


Fabio Guggeri I HAD to comment. "He said Ignatius was a misunderstood genius stuck in a shitty town with no one who understood him"... really? I suppose your ex was an incredible asshole.

Ignatius is an idiot, he's the representation of everything that's wrong in society. I hated him, therefore loving the book. One can easily see "Ignatiuses" (Ignatii?) in the real world, assholes with no respect for society that don't even end up paying for their idiocy. I loved this book because it's just fiction: in the real world, a story like his would make me extremely mad.

Anyway, really, if somebody thinks Ignatius is ever right, he's an idiot and must be left alone.


message 42: by Ben (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ben Selfridge No... your old boyfriend is a dumbbell. You're SUPPOSED to hate Ignatius.


Michelle ; )

Thanks, you guys!


Angela I think it was your ex boyfriend who didn't get it. Ignatius a misunderstood genius? Ignatius was an over-educated, disgusting sociopath. I doubt very seriously that Toole meant for us to like him or even identify with him.
I LOVED the book. Ignatius' view of the world was so completely "out there," so disconnected from what's acceptable, that he had me laughing out loud.
I enjoyed the other characters too Coming from Houston, which is so close to New Orleans, I've met people like Jones and Santa and Ignatius' mother. The personalities and dialects were perfect. It was just an all-around wonderful character study.


Angela I think it was your ex boyfriend who didn't get it. Ignatius a misunderstood genius? Ignatius was an over-educated, disgusting sociopath. I doubt very seriously that Toole meant for us to like him or even identify with him.
I LOVED the book. Ignatius' view of the world was so completely "out there," so disconnected from what's acceptable, that he had me laughing out loud.
I enjoyed the other characters too Coming from Houston, which is so close to New Orleans, I've met people like Jones and Santa and Ignatius' mother. The personalities and dialects were perfect. It was just an all-around wonderful character study.


message 46: by Rich (last edited Feb 23, 2015 09:08PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rich Ignatius is not a genius, he's an asshole. The entire point is that Ignatius imagines himself to be a genius stuck in a shitty town when he is actually just an over-educated, repressed jerk who can't function in the real world.


Sylvain Angela's got it perfectly right.


Susan This book was hilarious, the dynamic of the relationship with his mother for a start. The mothers relationship & conversations with her friend Santa. I laughed all the way through, and I'm female.


message 49: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Love this review, Michelle.


message 50: by Don (new) - added it

Don Perez I'm jealous you saw the white stripes when they were still together. Recently saw jack solo (with other members) and I really would've preferred a white stripes concert. Anyway, I'm about to start this book, so whether it's a good read or not I don't know but I hope it's not too bad. Picked it up for .44 ¢ so it's not much of loss other than time if it sucks. Thanks for the review!


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