This book is going on the list of books I do not intend to finish. Granted, I received it for free from the book club I attend at my school, so there’s no financial guilt attached. But at the moment, I am not at all interested in continuing A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a well written book, but it’s just not my style. It’s a comic farce that probably has some deeper meaning about fat egotists, but at the surface it’s a maddening swirl of flat characters who affect the life of a certified asshole.
I know the saying goes that if there’s something you really hate about a person, it’s probably what you hate the most about yourself. Let’s not forget the part where you work on what you hate in yourself, and you don’t have to forgive the other person for not addressing their own personal quirk.
Well, let’s just say that’s completely true for the seven chapters I dragged myself through, solely for the sake of earning the paper.
This book essentially revolves around Ignatius J Reilly, a well educated, but arguably immature fatso, and his various exploits around New Orleans. The characters he comes into contact with almost seem to be a vessel for a single trait, or simply an actor in the great Ignatius play.
To be perfectly honest, the only character I truly like is Jones, the black man who must find a job lest he be arrested for vagrancy (in 1960’s New Orleans, this is a very real threat. ) He looks at the world with the most realistic view of all of the characters, perhaps because he actually has to face consequences, unlike Ignatius, who can trapse along his merry way, without true fear of degredation.
(I do admire the fat lout for never letting anything get to him.)
Overall, this book would probably give me a mountain of material to write critical literary essays on, but I’d only do it for a large and neatly ruffled pile of money, or a grant, or a date with Gerard Butler (a la Gamer, please) or something else obnoxiously big. As I’ve said before, it’s not a terrible read. It won a Pulitzer, for Pete’s sake! A lot of people like the book. I just don’t happen to be one of them.
I give this book 0 out of 5 bookmarks. I don’t intend to pick it up ever again. Perhaps in ten years when my world outlook has changed I’ll give it another go. But until then, this copy is going happily to the nearest Half-Price Bookstore.
Want a different look? Try these reviews on for size.