#280 The World According to Garp

This is the third and final John Irving book on my list so it’s with some sadness that I’ve finished it – but it was such a good novel and I enjoyed reading it so much that I’m surprised I’ve managed to hold off this long ! Based on these three (A Prayer for Owen Meany, the Cider House Rules and Garp) I would definitely read more by him – and these weren’t short reads either but it’s a testament to his writing style and subjects that I’ve got through them so quickly and remained so entranced for the duration of each.

The World According to Garp tells the unusual life story of the eponymous Garp, son of Jenny Fields, a rebellious nurse, and a wounded ball turret gunner who (when Jenny first encounters him in his hospital bed) can only squawk his own name (Garp) but rapidly descends into a childlike state; during which time Jenny uses him to inseminate herself. Garp dies shortly later, but his name lives on in the child borne of this brief encounter, who Jenny proceeds to raise on her own despite the protests of various more traditional family members.

I don’t think I’ll expand on the plot any further – it really is an excellent book and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s engaging and moving and full of characters you can really connect with and genuinely laugh out loud funny – as with the other two John Irving novels I’ve read, I really didn’t want it to end !


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