40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
In Response to the Negative Reviews,
This review is from: A Confederacy of Dunces (Paperback)
Personally, I am dumbfounded at some of the claims of the more, shall we say, uptight reviewers found on this page. To hold an opinion which is contrary to most others' is, of course, perfectly fine, but to claim that those who like the book are simply following suit, that we are simply seeing the "emperor's new clothes" so as not to be thought stupid, is an affront to the intelligence of the thousands and thousands of readers who have enjoyed this book. A few things; this is not a comedy in the way an Elmore Leonard novel, or a Douglas Adamas novel, is a comedy. The comedy is not outright -- that is to say that this is not a novel built around jokes and one-liners -- but that the comedy comes from the characters, the dialogue and the overall outrageousness of its situations. It is also a misconception that a great main character must be indentifiable with the reader. The point of the novel is that Ignatius is NOT identifiable to a normal person, just as he cannot identify with normal society. Were his convictions easy to indentify with, was his position on society easy to swallow and his speech more coloquial he would not be Ignatius J. Reilly. He is, in fact, one of the snidest, most self-deluded characters I have ever read had the pleasure to read. He treats his mother terribly, his medieval philosophies sound like the ramblings of an imbecile, and his excuses and complaints could, if they were realized in life, drive someone insane. It is his good-natured intentions, though, his self-delusions that his shortcomings are in fact blessings and the sheer rediculous nature of his pompousness that makes him such a comic gem of a character. That we who find this to be true are being compared to the peasants in the age old fable of the emperor's new clothing seems to say a wealth about those who make such claims. Is it not enough to state one's opinion? Must one put oneself on a literary pedestal, insulting the intelligence of anyone who disagrees with you? Because you didn't "get it" does not mean that there was nothing to "get." We got it. And we who did are in agreement; those new clothes the emperor's sporting are looking damn good.
In summary, there is a reason this book won the Pulitzer Prize and it's not because the judges were too scared to admit they didn't like it. It's clever, well-written, fast-paced, absorbing and absurd.
Oh, and it's extremely funny, as well.