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The World According to Garp [Mass Market Paperback]

John Irving
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Spitting into the wind March 7 1998
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have several friends with whom I have argued passionately about Irving over the years. Why is it that we love some authors and hate others? For me, Irving is the most plastic and shallow writer I have ever encountered, with the most contrived characters I have ever met. I have wondered about the process of the creation of some of the bizarrely unbelievable characters. "Well, I need a character here, and I will make him a former NFL star tight end who has had a sex change operation." Even to his fans, Irving's characters are a bit on the different side (well, OK, a lot on the different side). I find them utterly hollow and unbelievable. This falsity I find running throughout all of Irving's books. But THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP was the first one that I read, and therefore the one I hold in lowest regard. My friends and others are going to go on reading what I consider to be Irving's abominable books. I recommend reading something by A. S. Byatt or David Lodge or Robertson Davies instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Miss It! June 11 2005
By Laurie
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Garp hooks you right from the start, when you meet his fiercely independent-minded mother, Jenny Fields, a nurse who slashes a leering soldier in a movie theater in the WWII era. Poor Jenny has no interest whatsoever in men (she is not gay...she just has no sexual interest in anyone). But the irony is, her wealthy, conservative family believes that she is rutting like a rabbit.
Jenny may not be promiscuous, but she definitely has some unconventional ideas. She wants a baby, but does not want to become involved with a man to get one. Since artificial insemination was not yet mainstream in the 1940s, she finds a vegetative soldier with whom to perform her insemination.

T. S. Garp is the result (he has no first name, just initials, in honor of the fact that his father was a Technical Sergeant). Most of the story is his, but Jenny still plays a prominent role throughout. Garp's life is unconventional, and that's putting it mildly. I won't go into detail, because I don't want to ruin the delight of reading the book and discovering it for yourself.
It becomes even more confusing when Jenny writes a book called "A Sexual Suspect," detailing her unusual life and views. It becomes a best seller, and now Garp not only knows the truth about how he was conceived, but everyone else in America knows too because the book is a best seller.
Garp is surrounded with an entertaining (and sometimes frightening) cast of supporting characters, including his wife Helen, the snobbish Percy family whose members go by nicknames such as "Cushie" and "Pooh" (his intimate relationship with one member will play a major role in his undoing at the hands of another), the horny neighbor "Mrs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best Feb. 11 2005
By J.Jones
Format:Mass Market Paperback
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP by John Irving, is the story of an ordinary man with an extraordinary life. This man is T. S. Garp, illegitimate son of famous feminist Jenny Fields and Technical Sergeant Garp (hence the 'T. S.'), a severely wounded American soldier. Before Ms. Fields was famous, she was a feminist by nature, and though she wished to have a child, she did not wish to have any sort of relationship with a man. So when Technical Sergeant Garp is brought into the hospital where she works as a nurse with shrapnel in his brain, Jenny realizes that she has found the perfect father for her son. The rest of the story is as amazing as the manner in which Garp is conceived. It chronicles his life as a struggling writer living in the shadow of his mother's fame. The only true immortality is the written word in "The World According to Garp." Garp spends most of the novel attempting to write his classic, the book that will make him famous and thus immortal. I was reminded at time of the work of Jackson McCrae, especially his BARK OF THE DOGWOOD or his CHILDREN'S CORNER --the writing is just that good, deep, and well constructed. Irving helps convey the theme to the readers by constantly using foreshadowing. There is little that happens in this novel that the reader does not have at least a slight inkling about prior to its occurrence. Whereas with other authors this may have made the story boring and predictable, Irving utilizes this element in a way that keeps the reader guessing, occasionally hinting at things that do not actually happen or things unrelated to the main story. Overall, the theme is expressed clearly but not blatantly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT! July 19 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
To be honest, this book was my first one of John Irving's, but i must say: IT WON'T BE THE LAST! John Irving pulls you into this book of loves, lusts, and life. I am just thirteen and even at my age i loved and understood it. What i think I liked most about this book is that it was different from most books today. It didn't have a certain plot, other than showing you this man's life, from pre-birth, to post-death. This book was amazing and i would reccomend it to anyone who is mature enough to handle it. Oh, and the movie is great too!
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all time favorites June 28 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The World According to Garp is not a typical novel. It flows like a human life; many ups and downs. And as with life, you never know what is coming next.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I picked up THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP not knowing what to expect. After just a few pages, I found myself unable to put it down. The characters came to life for me. Read more
Published on March 23 2007 by Waddleforth
5.0 out of 5 stars An Irving Classic
This book (like all of Irving's, possibly with the exception of The Fourth Hand), is phenomenal. Not only was this book captivating, but it also had me laughing out loud. Read more
Published on July 8 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Irving novel is Garpist - NOT feminist
As much as I wanted to like this creative, quirky novel, I could not move past the arrogance of the protagonist and the constantly belittling of every female character. Read more
Published on June 30 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars He's no Richard Russo, but Irving gets it right with TWATG
John Irving is quite a storyteller. Read other reviews to get a synopsis, but this is basically the life story of Garp, an unlikely hero. Read more
Published on June 17 2004 by H. Huggins
5.0 out of 5 stars What a pleasure
I took my time reading this book, in fact I finished it only after a few months of reading it. The reason for this is that this book I used as an escape from my world. Read more
Published on June 13 2004 by Dylan v.d Merwe
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid Audiobook Version
I was a "Garp" fan from the day the book first appeared, and have personally owned and given away close to 50 copies in the past 20+ years. Read more
Published on June 1 2004 by D. Antoine
5.0 out of 5 stars funny funny funny
this book is hard to describe without ruining it, i'll just say that i was able to read it continuously even though i was in San Sebastián Spain on the beach while i was... Read more
Published on May 26 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book
A story of three generations in a highly atypical family. Comic to the point of inducing laughter out loud, this book exposes intense psychological issues (such as the need for... Read more
Published on April 11 2004 by J. Jacobs
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful But Unlikely Story
John Irving is a very thorough and gifted storyteller. I had familiarity with some of his previous work, but only recently discovered "The World According to Garp". Read more
Published on April 9 2004 by JMack
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