The World According to Garp (Unabridged)
by John Irving
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Here are the life and times of T. S. Garp, the bastard son of Jenny Fields, a feminist leader ahead of her times. Here are the life and death of a famous mother and her almost-famous son; theirs is a world of sexual extremes, even of sexual assassinations. The World According to Garp is a novel rich with "lunacy and sorrow", yet the dark, violent events of the story do not undermine a comedy both ribald and robust. With more than 10 million copies in print, in more than 30 languages and in more than 40 countries, this novel provides almost cheerful, even hilarious evidence of its famous last line: "In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases."
"Life is an X-Rated soap opera."
First, please remember, the Book was published in 1978, and the Audiobook was Released in 2000. I read the book while still a teenager and it was a mistake. I was simply not wise enough to understand life does not always have to be so full of "lunacy and sorrow". I truly believed everything I was told and read... I know better now of course. However, I believe the majority of young people today (i.e. teenagers) would do fine with this story. I believe they are much more "aware", shall we say, then my generation. Besides, there are far more reasons for them to be depressed, then a fictional book. The humor in it falls in to the old arena of; "... it's funny because it is true." So, for those of us who have more "experience" at life, than the younger ones, will see the funny side of this relatively dark story, flecked with seemingly ridiculous events of life's chain of adventure. (Like an asexual female nurse having sex with a perpetually priapic mental vegetable, adultery, and dealing with castration anxiety.) Nevertheless, if your life has been one Norman Rockwell painting after another, then you may not fully appreciate this story. As for the rest of us, it can bring grins and giggles... seasoned with a little depression. That is The Review According to ME...
Irving arrived and the Literary World hasn't been the same since.
My father had read this book when I was a youngster. Robbin Williams and John Lithgow starred in the movie (which though admirable didn't do the book justice) and though seeing the movie first the book was an experience that brought really good literature into my life. I was seventeen when I read Garp and though the short stories within the book were good I never quite bought the idea that Irving portrayed that they were Garps' first attempts at writing. I didn't believe the character was sophisticated enough to have written stories with such content at such a young age, I just didn't buy it. Though young I was so much older then than I am now.(yeah, that's in a song somewhere....but it's true) Years later I read Irving's memoir, Trying to save Piggy Sneed, he stated that before the book was published only he and a close friend had a problem with that part of the book; whether publishers and the audience could believe this sophistication from such a young character. I was stunned to realize I shared a common sense of detail with the author, it made his work that much more special to me. The publishers never even mentioned it, the book was published and the rest is history. It has nothing to do with the real effect of the book just something that pertained to ME reading the book. It is the one that put him on the map and should be the one that endears him to future readers of his work. In simple words delivered in a complex wild story he shared something universal with every reader and it possibly couldn't have been done with any other type of tragic character. Garp is Irvings' most famous character and should be; though his characters are always interesting and the lives they live are so similar to the real world it's hard not to empathize and care for them and even cherish what they represent but it was Garp that seemed so real as if the story were a biography of someone you wanted to know. Though personally Irvings' novel, A Son of the Circus is my favorite it was Garp that introduced me to him and for that I am forever grateful. This book should be on every Literary Top Ten List, it's that good.
I'm 13 and I'm in love with this book
I just finished reading this book today. It is the best book I have read. Gone with the Wind was my previous favorite, but this beats it. People who love to be obsorbed into their books should definitely read this. John Irving is a genious. He is the best of his generation. This book made me laugh, cry, and smile with joy. I highly recomend this book.