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This review is from: In One Person (Hardcover)This is a highly insightful and knowledgable saga of lives zig-zagging across the spectrum of human sexuality over a span of 50 plus years. It doesn't preach, but it does force the reader to accept the amazing variety of human sexual identify and experience that has always existed, but has only evolved to the current level of visibility and understanding that it enjoys today (in the Western world, at least).
Author John Irving takes the rich mix of characters that he has created in this story through a gauntlet of tolerance and intolerance that some survive and flourish in, but which causes others to flee into exile or hiding and still others to wither and die. There are some lovable folks here and some that most of us would not enjoy spending five minutes time with. The central character of Billy Abbott has his merits and serves as the explorer of sexual worlds, but in the end, he is no particular hero--more a kind of everyman who stands somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of sexuality (as a bisexual).
Above all, this is a fine piece of writing that moves back and forth from the 1940s to 2011 and through dozens of human relationships that are complicated and often disappointing, but never uninteresting or without friction or strong emotion. A fine read.