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The World According To Garp

Author: John Irving
Year: 1976
Pages: 609
Amazon: The World Acccording To Garp

In The World According To Garp, nothing is normal but somehow that makes Garp both normal and likeable. Garp is the only son of Jenny Fields and for most of his life (and a large part of the story) is overshadowed by his strong-willed asexual mother turned feminist icon.

The novel traces Garp's life from birth, through childhood and adolescence into fatherhood and eventually to its tragic end. Garp's passions are in wrestling, sex, writing and later on in his family and children. In all of these activities he is energized by that passion and achieves both great success and even greater failure because of it.

As the novel deepens Garp becomes more human. His fear of the under toad doesn't seem neurotic or overanxious but just articulates the complexity of life that everyone feels.

Another interesting aspect of Garp is the novellas that are contained within the story. These are short stories within the story written by Garp (the character) that may or may not provide insight into Garp's character.

Litty’s Take

This is my second time reading The World According To Garp. At first I was a bit let down. In my mind Garp was a hero but this time I realized his faults and in some ways lost respect for him. But as the novel continues it becomes clear that Garp is living in his world. Sometimes he struggles, and sometimes he even fails but Garp always tries to live life to the fullest.

John Irving thrives in his imaginative and peculiar world and uses adultery, animals, transsexuals, and death to help enlighten the reader's on many of his themes. It makes the reader uncomfortable but it also allows the reader to overcome the discomfort and view the world in a different way.

I've found myself in a bunch of situations lately where I've thought about "The World According to Littyhoops". Seems like a sign that it's a story that has me hooked!

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