Ashley's Reviews > Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace

Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story by D.T. Max
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Oct 21, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: biography, read-in-2012
Read in October, 2012

This won't make a ton of sense, because I just finished the book and ended up having a REALLY strong reaction to the way the ending was handled- so my head is kind of clouded with frustration at the moment.

I was SO looking forward to reading this. I rushed to my local Barnes & Noble 5 minutes before the store closed the day it was released and tried to buy it, but they told me they didn't have it/never ordered any. Life got in the way and I wasn't able to get it until a few weeks later. I started almost right away, but was pretty disappointed. It was really strange...I finally had this book that I had waited for for SO long, but I found myself kind of turned off by the book. It annoyed me, for some reason. I couldn't really put my finger on it, but the writing was ugly and I just wasn't really liking the overall feel of the book.

It definitely didn't help that I was only reading it in small 5-10 minute chunks, so I was never really able to develop a good relationship with it.

I finally decided to sit down and finish it last night and ended up REALLY getting in to it. I stayed hooked until the end...but the end absolutely repulsed me.

"This was his effort to show the world what it was to be "a fucking human being." [...] This was not an ending anyone would have wanted for him, but it was the one he had chosen."

...WTF?! Those have to be two of the most idiotic sentences I've ever read.

Gathering his papers up and putting them in a neat pile before he killed himself was "showing the world what it was to be a fucking human being"?! I don't think so. His death wasn't a plot-twist in a piece of fiction. I just think that sentence is TOTALLY out of place and sounds so incredibly disrespectful- it sounds like something a little 13 year old kid totally obsessed with the philosophy of Tyler Durden would write in a suicide note.

Of course I know that "showing the world what it is to be a fucking human being" comes directly from Wallace, but Max felt the need- felt as though he had the right- to hijack that phrase and use it in this way...and it just totally minimizes DFW's entire situation, in my opinion.


And the whole "this is the one he had chosen"?!? I mean, first, it's just ugly. It points directly back to the opening, which was totally hideous...but god it's so fucking easy for people to say "this is the ending he chose" when they've never experienced anything like that...and it's just so incredibly ugly on so many different levels.


Overall, DFW deserved so much better than this. I'm not talking about the "ugly" side of DFW the book revealed...facts are facts- I'm not saying I'm upset about the content, but rather the way in which the content was presented. The book felt sloppy, and the writing was nowhere near the quality it should have been, given the subject.

I want to give it 3.5 stars, but knocked it up to 4 because 3 just looked too depressing. The thing is, is that I started off hating it, but ended up getting completely hooked and LOVED it until the end, and then those last few sentences absolutely took my breath away with how dreadful they were.

So yea- actually- scratch that. I'm knocking it back down to a 3 due to my anger over the manhandling of the ending. I know my anger over the ending probably seems overblown, and it's weird because I can't even fully put it into words, but it really, really bothers me and makes it impossible for me to see the rest of the book in an overly objective light now.
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