on 2 January 2003
Being a huge John Irving fan I'd been looking forward to reading his memoirs for a long time. Although the book is clearly and humourously written, I found it slightly disappointing. This is because it quickly becomes apparent that Irving is a HUGE wrestling fan. Wrestling has been his obsession throughout his life and consequently features prominently in the book. If you aren't interested in wrestling, you may want to give the book a miss.
The reader is taken through Irving's wrestling and academic/writing career meticulously, but personal details to do with his family are virtually omitted (there are fleeting references to his parents and wives), although he does describe his sons' wrestling accolades with great pride and affection.
I enjoyed the book because Irving's gift for describing characters shines through, as we are introduced to friends and colleagues he has met during his lifetime. I finished the book feeling as if I had known some of them personally.
If you admire Irving's work, you will probably like this book; otherwise I would suggest that you stick to reading his fiction (all of which is fantastic).