Saturday, July 07, 2012

In One Person by John Irving

 

I have long been a John Irving fan. The World According to Garp may have been my first adult pleasure read as a freshman in college. Irving's new novel is so adult that I could never consider making it summer reading for AP, even though it is a very literary book with many layered Shakespeare references. Early Shakespearean actors playing female roles introduces the central issue of the novel which is filled with transvestites, transsexuals, bisexuals, and teens grappling with sexual identities. I am not a prude or a timid reader, but I tired of the sexual tension. I wanted a "normal mom character" or character I could identify with. I didn't find the usual humor I look for in Irving. Since David read this book before me, I knew he was conflicted in his review, but I urged him to withhold his evaluation until I had a chance to read it too. Turns out withholding information is the theme here. In retrospect, I love the literary quality of the novel, but it's subject matter made me squeamish.

 

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