Monday, June 8, 2009

Short Review: The World According to Garp, by John Irving

(Ed. note: I finished this book with the half-puzzled feeling that generally indicates there is a revelation right around the corner. I'll probably write more about this book when the revelation arrives.

Also, I'd like to thank my cousin Liese, who loved this book so much that she bought me my own copy, knowing that I would want to scribble in the margins. I did.)

The World According to Garp is one of those books that I couldn't quite put down once I was fully immersed. It is the story of Jenny Fields, an unwilling feminist icon, and her writer son, T.S. Garp. It is a story of life, sex, and energy, but it does not skim over the dark sides of these themes--death, rape, and the apathy that accompanies lack of energy.

The book is chock-full of metaliterature, as both Jenny and Garp are successful writers and Garp's wife Helen is professor of literature. (Perhaps my only complaint about this book is that none of the characters hold down "ordinary" jobs, but for Jenny, who works as a nurse before she gains her literary success.)

While the entire book is engaging, the final quarter of the novel gains an almost-feverish pace, so that the reader can't quite turn the pages quickly enough to finish it. I would recommend this book and most definitely rate it an A.

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