Monday, December 1, 2014

The World According To Garp

The World According to Garp by John Irving

First book review back from a month of NaNoWriMo shenanigans and I write about an adult fiction book? WHAT HAS THIS BOOK LIFE COME TO?

...well, this book was recommended to me by a friend who enjoyed the unique perspective it showed, and apparently there's a movie with Robin Williams in it based on this book (which I intend to watch at some point in my life), and I thought, hey, why not?

Disclaimer: This is an adult book, sexuality is a strong theme in this book. There are a few horrifically graphic scenes in this book. If that is uncomfortable for you, I'd recommend not reading any further.

So an amazon summary, "This is the life and times of T. S. Garp, the bastard son of Jenny Fields, a feminist leader ahead of her time. This is the life and death of a famous mother and her almost-famous son; theirs is a world of sexual extremes, even of sexual assassinations. It 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. In more than thirty languages, in more than forty countries–with more than ten million copies in print–this novel provides almost cheerful, even hilarious evidence of its famous last line: “In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases.”" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE in my 'What will I review tab?' SHAMELESS PLUG, I talk about how I get really bored with adult fiction, and how they seem to wind up as convoluted ways for characters to have sex with each other.

The emphasis on sex in this book was so strong, it took so much for me to stomach it.

The World According to Garp shows the life of Garp. He was born to Jenny who had a complete lack of interest in sex and lust but still wanted a child. She was a nurse who looked after wounded soldiers returning from war, and came across the original Garp. The original Garp declined drastically from a brain injury but still had giant erections. So Jenny took it upon herself to let the original Garp ejaculate into her before the original Garp died. Thus creating the narrator Garp; thus named after his dead father. I felt like that was all within the first 2% of the book.

Garp's mother Jenny is an 'accidental feminist' if you will, and feminism becomes a strong theme of the book....but it really has to fight for a voice against all of the sex happening throughout the story.

I wanted to read this book as a commentary on society. How so much of our culture is tied into sex; who's having sex with who, how to be more sexy, etc etc. There was even the fair share of crazies throughout the story (or characters perceived as crazy but were trying to establish their self identity through questionable manners; that point is highly debatable as well).

There was moments of fatherhood, moments of loss, and many moments where sex was involved. (If all else fails, sex sells right? ....pardon me while I cringe for having written that.)

Maybe it was more of a commentary on how one man's life might seem entirely their own, but the ripple effect that each human has in the smallest and most innocent of interactions can cause dramatic results in the end.

However, I had to read it as one man's interpretation on dealing with the animal of life in all its many aspects. There were certainly themes present throughout that sought for humor and dug for the finer feelings that exist. It seemed to have a clumsy grasp of what it was trying to accomplish since there were no clear points and it dragged us through a terrible resolution/epilogue sequence.

There really seemed to be overwhelming potential for the book, but it got too caught up in itself almost. As if it were trying to be the latest, most gripping story.

But is that also a commentary on life?

I really throw my hands up at this book and wash myself of 'adult' fiction for a while.....until I unsuspectingly agree to read something else 'adult' of course. However, I will probably more readily give up on it though.

Happy reading!

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