It's worth it. It really is. Just keep with it until the end. Should also note, you're not the only one:
Persevere to page 200: There are several popular way stations on the road to abandoning Infinite Jest. The most heavily trafficked by far is “The Wardine Section”. Where the opening pages of IJ are among the best written in the book, page 37 (and many pages thereafter) are in a tortured, faux-Ebonics type dialect. “Wardine say her momma ain’t treat her right.” “Wardine be cry.” Potentially offensive (if one wants to be offended), and generally hard to get through. Hang in there, ignore the regional parlance, and focus on what the characters are doing. Like most things in the book, you’ll need to know this later. Likewise for the other rough patches to be found in the first fifth of the novel.
Last edited by Ape Gone Insane; 10-03-2012 at 01:52.
It might be worth reading some of his other stuff to tune you in to what Wallace is all about. His short story collections are brilliant and much easier to read. The first time I read IJ I gave up, then read pretty much all of his other stuff and was so enthusiastic about it, I returned to IJ and found it much more readable.
Although I love IJ, I don't think you should necessarily sit there and force yourself to read the whole thing if you hate it. It depends on why you're reading it in the first place - what do you want to get out of it? There are a lot of books out there that need to be read so there are better things you can be doing than sitting their crying your eyes out forcing yourself to read about a tennis match for half your life!
As a perspective from the 'academic' world, there was a French academic (can't remember who it was) who published a paper about how the vast majority of critics of Ulysses haven't even read the whole thing. The point of that is that you can appreciate, understand and get something out of a book without having read every word in its entirety. To actually sit down and read IJ, without skim-reading and dedicating your full attention to it, would take rather extreme levels of monastic discipline and a sizeable chunk of your life.
Last edited by dfw; 18-03-2012 at 10:39.