Number 2 of the 3 books I want to read at the onset of each New Year. This is David Foster Wallace’s first novel, first book as far as I know, and also his funniest, his easiest to read, and (I am now convinced) his best. It’s better than his three story collections, and also better than his gargantuan novel “Infinite Jest” which gets considerably more attention than “Broom”, but this is more to do with the fact that “Infinite Jest” is so notoriously long, not necessarily that it’s a better book. Wallace in his own words had described “Broom” as something that seemed: “like it was written by a very smart 14 year-old.” Of course when it comes to self-criticism, given his ultimate fate, he may not be the best person to ask. In a way I can kind of see what he was talking about, the way that some of the people act in the book is heavily caricatured, which would be a bad thing if the writer was trying to attempt a sort of realism, but that is hardly even the point, the book his highly unrealistic from the get go.
I noticed this time around, more so then the last time, of just how small of a penis the main antagonist (if you can call him such, in a novel like this ideas of good and bad are incredibly complex and do not merit a simple black and white answer) Rick Vigorous has and how much that effects his life, personal feelings of inadequacy, and also explains (somewhat) why he so possessive and jealous.
Also I really started noticing in this reading just how bad of a character Lenore Beedsman is in the novel. The Lenore I’m referring to is the great grandmother, not the main character. She is paying a psychiatrist to further hurt and already disturbed girl, who is after all her own great granddaughter, the person that shares her name, the main person that comes and talks with her in a swelteringly heated room, and the only person the great granddaughter really even trusts in her rather large family. Then out of the blue she just disappears, on purpose, without telling her granddaughter anything. The great grandmother is convinced that there are reasons behind this, and that what she is doing is the only thing that is good for Lenore (the main character), but as of this reading I can’t even begin to understand what those reasons are.
Like I had said, this is his easiest novel to get through; however this is still a Wallace novel which means it’s not going to be a simple book by any means. This is the third time I’ve read it now, and each time I’ve gotten more and more out of it, I will be rereading it many times in the future I am sure, because the book is just that good.