5.0 out of 5 stars
Flat Out Funny!... If You Like Slapstick Comedy, July 1 2005
Ignatius J. Reilly is perhaps the funniest character in literature, and I don't say that lightly, because he has no idea that he is a complete loser. Horribly fat, lacking in any social graces, and oblivious to any consequences of his actions, he considers himself an educated scholar, immune to the mundane things the rest of us need to do, such as work. Unfortunately, he is forced into this world when his mother pulls the rug out from under him.
Every character in this book is a caricature to some degree, and ridiculous because of it -- yet, they are instantly recognizable as similar to people you've met in some part of your life. There is a Joseph Heller-esque humor here, but without the political overtones. I'd compare this humor to a Kurt Vonnegut or Douglas Adams, except that it is grounded much more in reality -- it's just that the humor within this text is silly humor in that same vein.
Much like many great books, this takes a few pages to get into, but it really is a laugh-out-loud book. It's the kind of book that when you see strangers reading it, you feel compelled to start talking about it with them. This is slapstick humor with an advanced degree -- it's silly event after silly event, but done so intelligently that you can't help but read this book with a wry grin on your face. Try this book! If you like slapstick you will enjoy it. Another book I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Toole, but very much on my mind since I purchased it "used" off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, an exceptional, highly entertaining little novel I can't stop thinking about.