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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).
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on 4 April 2001
Not a complete auto-biography but selected recollections from the authors life. There is a wealth of information about the author's (and his son's) wrestling career(s) which turns out not to be as quirky and fabulous as any of his novels.
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on 28 November 2011
Interesting book(let) about John Irving himself as a person. But no knock-out like all of his other books. My advise: don't start to read Irving with this one. But never stop reading the many other monuments of his writing! Hans Horwitz, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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