Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Friday, September 10, 2010

The World According to Garp- John Irving

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1978
Length:  606 pages
ISBN:  0676973825
Genre:  Literary Fiction

Start date: July 2010
Finished date: July 2010

Where from: Chapters-Indigo
Why Read: From TBR list; the unusual title captivated me

Summary: Novelist T.S. Garp, the son of a feminist icon, struggles to step away from her shadow to bring out his own fading talents, finding material from the tragic, bizarre, and odd, incredible encounters of his life.


It is rare to find a novel so complete without being rushed and without leaving any plot strings unraveled, with every character given finality in either death or a footnote of their current circumstances. Garp’s conception is criminal, his childhood adventurous, and his future bright with early potential as a writer from the imaginative short story "The Pension Grillparzer" and his talent as an amateur wrestler.

What hinders his progress is his relationships: Garp remains at odds with his mother, nurse turned feminist icon Jenny Fields, whose cult following after the publication of her memoir gives her a destiny to protect & harbour disenfranchised women, including those that cause their own misery as “Ellen Jamisons,” who cut out their tongues in protest for the rape of a girl by that name. His marriage to the meek, bookish teacher Helen is marred by affairs that lead to unspeakable tragedy that convinces Garp lust is the bane of tragedy & misfortune retold in a pitiful novel, The World According to Bensenhaver.

But equaling its tragedies are the comic underpinnings such as Garp’s friendship with Roberta, a transvestite ex-football player, his antagonistic relationship with the neighbouring Steering family & their dog, Bonkie, and his secret pining for Alice, the lisping wife of a friend & colleague.

It takes getting used to the nutty encounters & shell-shocked existence Garp seems to lead, but I soon eased into it and became mesmerized by the supporting characters that crop up over the years of his life and either sustain a place in his heart or wither off entirely, only to be caricatured in his writing.

The novel is often overlooked when choosing a “perfect” novel, but I wouldn’t hesitate to give it the honour. It is creatively offbeat, masterfully structured, and, by its end, comes full circle in producing a multidimensional life story that is littered with delightful, if oddball, characters in a thoughtful study of “terminal cases.”

I haven't yet seen the movie version, but I heard it was decent.

Rank: (A+)- A must-read!

1 comment:

  1. The movie is very good and Robin Williams is a perfect Garp. The episodes added by the scriptwriters are in perfect sync with the novel.