Nick Blasier'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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Dec 30, 2012

it was amazing

The idea of David Foster Wallace's suicide has haunted me since finding out about it, for many reasons. Maybe because when I first found him I unfairly put him on a pedestal that wasn't his - some sort of god-status undeserved by *any* human. I guess now that I understand all people are just that, (even the really really good and inspiring ones,) the impact has been muted. Still, what I knew to be the ending of this story kept feeling threatening and ominous through the whole read - I was scared, ultimately, to be devastated by this story. I was maybe most touched by this book's accomplishment of *not* crushing me in the end. I'm not sure if it's the book, or just time that's more responsible, but I felt it did a wonderful job of making the focus humanizing this giant, and helping me understand the things DFW spent his whole life trying to teach us. The recounting of the troubles with depression that crippled him and eventually claimed his life weren't paralyzing, like they had been in the past. Again, not sure if it was the telling or me that made that so.

I've never read a generally more relatable story than his. So many moments where his transcribed thoughts so directly echoed my own. So I guess it serves that purpose too - if you want to know *me* better, that's as good a reason as any to read this book. I'm not sure how much I learned from him and how much I just figured out on my own at this point - I guess we probably would've agreed that the beginning and end of his type of thinking follow a logical path that I couldn't have helped but follow once I was on it. The crippling nature of attempting to understand humans and relationships logically. The troubles of demonstrating sincerity in a world so thoroughly trained to mock it. Same with the earnest desire to *learn* - how can one embrace and demonstrate these ideals without losing to "nerd/geek/dork" labels? I do my best, content even if I fail, so long as I'm true to me. This book would make it seem that was our biggest point of departure: not only did DFW want to help people "fix" this situation, he seemed obsessed with correcting it for *everyone*, like his happiness depended on succeeding. The only thing keeping me sane in that battle is keeping company with the minority of those who understand, and being content to reach out without worrying about my success rate in connecting. I still worry and hope, but I'm crystal clear that worrying too much about everyone else is the rabbit hole: going down it costs me my sanity.

Some idea of fighting the good fight as a *team* always comes to mind when I think about this kind of stuff. Knowing that a David Foster Wallace existed is hugely inspiring to this end. I'm not the only one. That itself has always inspired me to be as vocal as possible - let people like me know they're not the only ones either.
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