Shannon's Reviews > White Noise

White Noise by Don DeLillo
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's review
Sep 21, 2007

it was ok
Read in August, 2007

I had 2 cut this rant 7x b/c it was too long...I can't stand postmodernists, nihilists, & existentialists! I feel like they should all move to California, stew in their own self-possessed malcontent/overly intellectualized postulating that never incites any action besides high minded bitching & moaning. Why make hopelessness out to be so deep & profound, as if that was the final answer that offers any solution to ANY of the million problems raised in this book? It's SO DEPRESSING & EVERYONE WAS SO LOST & ASSANINE & WARPED & DEEPLY FRUSTRATING & SELFISH & DIVORCED FROM REALITY!
So much of it drove me nuts.
BUT IT WAS THE CONVERSATION WITH THE NUN ABOUT FAITH & BELIEF THAT REALLY PUT ME OVER THE TOP! Some of it was painfully true: "The nonbelievers need the believers. They are desperate to have someone believe." "As belief shrinks from the world, people find it more necessary than ever that someone believe...Those who have abandoned belief must still believe in us. They are sure that they are right not to believe but they know belief must not fade completely. Hell is when no one believes. There must always be believers...We surrender our lives to make your nonbelief possible. You are sure that you are right but you don't want everyone to think as you do. THERE IS NO TRUTH W/O FOOLS." And then Delillo states his own view 2 pages prior "But you're a nun. Nuns believe these things. When we see a nun, it cheers us up, it's cute & amusing being reminded that someone still believes in angels, in saints, all the traditional things." I think it is true that our faith & belief are for others as much as they are for ourselves. But Delillo's presentation of this character was all over the place. I'm inspired by her strength & even by her resolve to devote herself to the good things in which she can't even fully believe. It freakishly draws our admiration & disgust at the same time. "We take vows. Poverty, chastity, obedience. Serious vows. A serious life. You could not survive without us." Winnie & this nun are the only 2 characters who have some handle on reality in the last section of the book. But this twisted commentary on faith, "dedication" & "pretense," really was the last straw for me in this book.
& WHAT WAS THE POINT OF WILDER RIDING HIS TRIKE ACROSS THE HIGHWAY? Was that supposed to be an allusion to the way we live life...ignorant of oncoming danger...absurd/foolish as children? Is it a commentary on Jack's remaining years cheating death? Thinking it's going by so fast...when really from proper perspective (reality's view or God's from the perch of the little old ladies) it's a snail's creeping pace. What was the point of that terrible ride? & why finish the book w/ a sunset & the check-out line? Both scenes are of anticipation/the inevitable/waiting which relate to death. But really I was expecting more closure. He DID just shoot a man, come home w/ a bullet wound, & left his neighbor's car full of bloody carnage!
I love the writing & don't regret reading it. There are still numerous passages that I find painfully beautiful & there R many surprising truths woven into all the crazy crap. But still that was not an easy read, & I had to power walk & pray for the depraved world at length before I could sleep with any sort of peace last night. This is how I felt both times I read The Awakening. Great writing, some amazing characters, I recognize that there were some valid points being made, but really I want to smack these characters, the author who created them, & then dedicate my life to fruitful action so I DON’T end up doing NOTHING & thinkin I’m deep.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Shannon You rock!

Sbate You need some Dylar...

message 3: by Robert (last edited Sep 13, 2008 11:11PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Robert why do you read books you know you won't like? my sister reads supermarket romance and her daughter reads teen vampire books. they LOVE them but I know they are not for I don't read books like that.
On the one hand you identify postmodernism as something you dislike (a hallmark of DeLillo). don't waste your time reading it!
On the other hand your own writing is riddled with grammar and spelling errors so who gives a fuck anyway?

Shannon Robert, I did like this book. Some of our best reads are the ones that challenge us and really get under our skin. White Noise is beautifully written, I really enjoyed the characters, and YES I found it VERY challenging and upsetting. If I wanted to be completely closed minded then, yes I might never read a book or listen to political speech with which I might disagree. But that is a very narrow way to live, and I think you might actually agree with me on this point despite your apparent attempt to dismiss my right to a thought or opinion. And as this is a book review site and not a peer-reviewed dissertation committee (and your post is not without typos/errors either) I suggest you cut fellow bloggers a bit more slack and temper your feedback.

Robert But why not say you liked it at the top? Burying the lead? Seriously, if someone says this book is the worst POS ever, I want to hear why (and maybe giggle). If the reviewer loves it, set me up early!

you belabor my point, though. I read mostly viewpoints that disagree with my own: I want to be challenged to see what I am missing.

I can tell you are more thoughtful than your truncated review seems. It's the internet and I tend to glaze over a hundred words in...

did you like Underworld? Any other recent stuff turn you on? I just finished Zeroville by Steve Erickson and had to reread.
Infinite Jest?

Shannon Point taken. I wrote this review upon finishing the book and when I described it as a rant, I mean it. It was my raw, immediate reaction. However, with time and perspective, I have come to appreciate this work more although I remain deeply frustrated by its message (or what I view as its lack thereof). So, I take your point to heart and have upped it from one star to two and am considering reconstructing that review.

Haven't read Underworld or Zeroville. Will have to check your reviews of these and add 'em to my 2-reads. I'm finishing my master's thesis right now so ALMOST ALL my reading is related to "the future of aesthetics in/and visual culture art education in the 21st century." In my minimal free time though, I just finished Return of the Prodigan by Henri Nouwen (sp?) exploring the parable through the lens of Rembrandt's painting, and I just started Corrie Tenboom's The Hiding Place which promises to be as painful as it is beautiful based on the subject matter.

Glad to be in dialogue instead of in conflict.

message 7: by Daniel (last edited Jun 02, 2011 07:52AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Daniel Stoian Bah, but nothing is depressing unless you are depressed...

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