The World According to Garp, by John Irving

Midge Percy was bonkers all right. . . .That dog was a killer, protected by one of the many thin and senseless bits of logic that the upper classes in America are famous for: namely, that the children and pets of the aristocracy couldn’t possibly be too free, or hurt anybody. That other people should not overpopulate the world, or be allowed to release their dogs, but that the dogs and children of rich people have a right to run free.”

Sounds like the Upper East Side.

I’m not sure I like this book. While it’s entertaining and interesting, I kinda hate most of the characters, including Garp. Maybe especially Garp. Maybe I’m supposed to.

The only people I like are Roberta Muldoon, the transsexual, and Walt, Garp’s five-year old who says, “Oh, sure,” all the time. And I like Jenny. The other characters remind me of those out of a Raymond Carver or John Updike short story. Shallow, egotistical, artless. Not that I want all my characters to be heroes. Far from it. The ones in Atonement were very faulty, but they were artful. Or artfully drawn. I can’t explain it.

The ones in this book are just there, warts and all, which I guess is a akin to real life, but if I wanted real life, I’d just look around me. I feel books should be a more artful version of real life.

UPDATE: Suddenly this book is better. After the accident, I suddenly can’t stop reading. Almost missed my stop today on the subway. It’s like for the first 2/3 of the book, everyone sort of stews unhappily in their juices.

There’s lot of foreshadowing of the accident, and the theme of not being able to speak, having difficulty speaking, choosing not to speak. I love that Duncan’s lost eye is the eye for memory, for seeing ghosts.

Maybe that’s why the movie is so good. It’s much more streamlined, from what I remember. I’m dying to watch it again, and am tempted to rent it for this weekend, but I think I should finish the book first. Imeptus for finishing it by tomorrow.

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