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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Read
This is truly my favourite book ever! A fabulous story about the life of Garp from conception until death.(and a very unusual conception it was).
The reader experiences Garps life with him. His unusual mother and upbringing. The characters he encounters are thoroughly enjoyable. Particularly Roberta Muldoon. It is a story that makes you laugh and cry and I was teary...
Published on 25 Nov 2009 by Ms. S. Cross

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as others would have us believe
I read this book influenced by previous five star reviews. It has highs and lows in terms of story telling, but declined to terminal boredom by the end. There are humorous sections, thought provoking ones too; but to me it all became a bit laboured. The author has points he wants to get across and does so well at times, but then he reinforces the issues time and again...
Published 6 months ago by thegriff


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Read, 25 Nov 2009
By 
This review is from: The World According To Garp (Black Swan) (Paperback)
This is truly my favourite book ever! A fabulous story about the life of Garp from conception until death.(and a very unusual conception it was).
The reader experiences Garps life with him. His unusual mother and upbringing. The characters he encounters are thoroughly enjoyable. Particularly Roberta Muldoon. It is a story that makes you laugh and cry and I was teary at the end. My next pet whether it be male or female is going to be named Garp!
A lot of John Irving's usual themes are present in the book, New England, wrestling, animals etc. This is my favourite John Irving title and the film with Robin Williams starring as Garp fails to do it any justice at all.
I would reccomend this book as a great flowing story about life with but with Irving style quirkyness.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Imagining something is better than remembering something.", 29 Dec 2000
By 
jr@tesson.demon.co.uk (Dorset, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The World According To Garp (Black Swan) (Paperback)
That is, if you have as good an imagination as John Irving.
I had heard great things about John Irving, and had it not been for this fact I would have never launched myself into a 600 page novel. I am easily bored. Even despite its recommendations I was still unprepared for how I would react to The World According to Garp.
The novel begins by narrating the unusual circumstances surrounding Garp's entrance into the world, i.e. from the perspective of his mother. Although its is a long book, I really felt that every word was necessary, and points are woven together throughout the novel. The story climaxes towards the end, by which time you are grateful for the extra pages.
Garp is a writer, and this book is about writing, and the world 'according to a writer,' and especially a father. Irving writes in his afterword that his book is about a father's fear of losing his children. He says: "I'm just a father with a good imagination. In my imagination I lose my children every day."
The fun thing is we get to read Garp's writing, too, and his best work, a short story called The Pension Grillparzer (don't ask!) has actually been published as a separate book in its own right. We get to know Garp through his writing and through the other characters, as well as through Irving's voice. A very inventive novel, pushing the boundaries of fiction, not just its shape, but its subject too.
This book made me laugh. The comedy is so closely intertwined with the tragedy that you feel personally involved with the joke. You experience pain with humour, tragedy with farce, and warmth all the way through. You never know what is going to happen next. I know what I'm going to do next: read some more Irving!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book!, 30 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The World According To Garp (Black Swan) (Paperback)
This really is a wonderful book; alternately hysterically funny and surreal, and at one point heartbreakingly sad. From the very first page, you are drawn into Garp's peculiar world. The characters are fully-developed and the plot races along at a cracking pace.
It's a bit of a cliché to say that a book can make you laugh and also make you cry, but in this case it's true. If this is the first John Irving book you read, it certainly won't be the last.
Set aside a couple of completely free days to read it - once you start, you won't want to put it down.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Different and Enthralling, 23 Oct 2014
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The World According to Garp is certainly a strange tale, and one that I’m sure (as with the works of the protagonist himself) will split opinion.

It is effectively the story of a young man – brought into the world as a result of a strange set of circumstances – trying to find his place in life and understand what he wants.
The narrative initially follows his mother’s life, as garp is conceived, and then through his childhood, before picking up the story from his perspective.

There is a lot in the story to enjoy, as well as a few parts that will make you feel uncomfortable to read – but these do not detract from the story, and all form part of the strange little life that Garp has.

As I can see from the reviews on here, there are people who seem to be strangely offended by a work of fiction (yes, there is a semi-autobiographical tone to some of it, but only on the surface – it is mainly fiction), but it has to be considered that the story works as a portrait of a life tinged by joy and sadness, and some of the most extreme events that a person can encounter.

There are some great characters in the book, with Roberta generally coming across as the most likable – but you still feel for the adventure, and indeed tragedy, that befalls the other characters in the book.

I would not say that this is one of the greatest books I have ever read, nor the most exciting… but the sometimes gentle, sometimes torrid tale of Garp pulls you in, leaving you wanting to know how and where he gets to in life.
For a novel that is a little different, and that wonderfully showcases a wide variety of people, it is definitely one to read.
Don’t expect it to be laugh-out-loud funny, and certainly don’t take some of it to heart – but just enjoy the bizarre life of TS, and all that befalls him.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Loss of Innocence?, 21 Jan 1999
By A Customer
The World According to Garp, I think, was a book of its time. Like Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run or The Beatles Sgt Peppers', it captured a feeling in the community, particularly the baby boomers, which a lot of people then understood and related to. Unfortunately, with time, this understanding has become less than clear to ensuing generations. It was released in the mid to late 1070s (1978 I think) when the baby boomers were all hitting 30 and starting to slow down, starting to think they needed some literary icon of their own generation to look to, the way they had looked to the Beatles, Stones and Rolling Stone magazine etc when they were teenagers. Remember, Salinger, Keroac, Kesey, Thompson etc were all born pre-WWII.
The most peculiar (to younger readers) element of this novel must be the Ellen Jamesians, a metaphor I think, for the fanatics that dominated the society, politics and news of the 1970s - everything from disco mania to Patty Hearst's terrorist group, to the student killings at Kent State, to all the other violent terrorist acts of that decade. All had their genesis in the freedom of expression realised by the baby boomers in the 1960s and the frustration and anger that came with the realisation that society being what it is, this freedom had nowhere to go. (TANGENT: that freedom of expression was always there, it was just that these were the first kids to see themselves on TV, the first fruits of the first real middle class America had known, and they thought their future would be different to that of their parents because their youth had been) So, the anger poured out against segregation and Vietnam in the 1960s and early 1970s had nowhere to go once Nixon resigned and Saigon fell. It started moving into social issues like feminism and political freedom and turned what were logical idealistic movements into often extreme and violent ones. That is the reason for the part about Garp meeting Ellen James and realising he had been right all along about her view of the fanatics who bannered themselves with her name. The Ellen Jamesians mutilated themselves, symbolism, I think, for what happens to all extreme groups - they fall because the anger cannot be maintained and they crumble from self inflicted wounds. While the Ellen Jamesian movement did not crumble in Garp, I think Irving hinted at this inevitability through the sheer lunacy of their cause and their actions - against which Garp provided a voice of reason. Reason is always floored by extreme views - hence the book's climax.
John Irving is a hippie and a romantic. He believes in true love, intertwining lives and devotion which sometimes borders on obsession. In light of this, Garp is really about loss of love and the fear that eventually that loss must be suffered, either physically or emotionally by us all. In effect it was a loss of innocence novel for baby boomers, by a baby boomer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Life as it ought to be., 5 Oct 2014
By 
Stephen Whittle "Stephen" (Manchester United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I have loved this book ever since it first arrived - and wouldn't be without it in my life. Includes as a sub-story the very best fictional / factional account of a trans person ever. Lots of emotions, but no soppyness, just straight forward life as it should it. If I need a boost I go back and read the last couple of chapters to see how my friend's lives are getting on. Always puts things into perspective.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as others would have us believe, 6 Jun 2014
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I read this book influenced by previous five star reviews. It has highs and lows in terms of story telling, but declined to terminal boredom by the end. There are humorous sections, thought provoking ones too; but to me it all became a bit laboured. The author has points he wants to get across and does so well at times, but then he reinforces the issues time and again with some rather far fetched scenarios. The end of the book becomes a meaningless epitaph to all the characters mentioned in the book. The book is long and to my mind not compelling enough to warrant five stars. Approach with caution!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Novel, 25 May 2014
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This is the first John Irving novel that I have come across after being recommended by a friend. I had become a little disheartened by the last couple of novels I had read and I now feel a renewed love of reading. The characters in this book are intriguing and inspiring and I am left wanting more. Do yourself a favour and have a read, you won't regret it. So which John Irving book shall I go for next?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 16 May 2014
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I didn't think that 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' could be bettered but this was equally as brilliant. Irving is up there with the best as his writing is insightful and often very funny. I read his work very quickly as I cannot put the book down and feel bereft when I complete it. Every character is a delight but I felt totally drawn to this wonderfully disfunctional man, Garp. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a brilliantly crafted story, beautiful writing and a blend of interesing, funny and thoroughly unique characters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Book , Great Service !, 16 May 2014
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Good Quality Edition, Delivered Promptly ! Happy Shopping of a Book I Know Well and Bought For Friends ! Highly Recommend !
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The World According To Garp (Black Swan)
The World According To Garp (Black Swan) by John Irving (Paperback - 26 Oct 1979)
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