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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's Nothing Better than a Good Book
I threw down Franzen's The Connections and Delillo's Underworld in disgust, after an hour's hard effort each. I had a bad cold and was looking for the company of a good book to help distract me. I should have known that John Irving is always good company. That's what I always look for, the august company of a good storyteller who is going to do just that "tell me his...
Published on April 8 2002 by Arline Curtiss

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Irving at his worst
After reading Hotel New Hampshire and A Prayer for Owen Meany (one of the best books I have EVER read), Widow for One Year was completely dissapointing. The characters are dull and not well developed, and worst of all the plot resembles a Lifetime movie. If you like Danielle Steele or romance novels, I recommend this book highly.
Published on June 21 2002


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's Nothing Better than a Good Book, April 8 2002
This review is from: A Widow for One Year (Paperback)
I threw down Franzen's The Connections and Delillo's Underworld in disgust, after an hour's hard effort each. I had a bad cold and was looking for the company of a good book to help distract me. I should have known that John Irving is always good company. That's what I always look for, the august company of a good storyteller who is going to do just that "tell me his story."
Don't miss this book. It has it all, good story, good characters, enough mystery and anticipation to keep looking ahead, enough sex to be contemporary, enough surprises to wake you up out of your own stale conjectures, some warm comedy to be good company, some real tragedy to touch the heart. And I think it taught me a lot that I can use in writing my own novel.
Then for fun I logged on here to read some reviews. I had to laugh at the supercilious statements of some of the editorial reviewers who are grasping at straws trying to find something to criticize. Got pen?
I'm serious about this being a good guide to how to write a novel--it's in the very bones of the book. I got a six-figure advance for my first non-fiction book, Depression is a Choice, published by Hyperion, and now I am starting a novel myself, which probably I will have to sell under a pen name since it is hard to be a cross-over author. Before my non-fiction sale,I was already an author of 5 children's book which I downplayed as "self-published," in order not to be typecast. And before I was a book author I was and still am a cognitive behavioral therapist. I toy with the idea sending my first 50 pages to this author for his remarks but of course I wouldn't presume to do so. I'll just struggle along like every other author has to do. Win by the word or lose by the word--a mind in the hand of fate. It is a worthy path.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite John Irving novel!, March 26 2004
A Widow for One Year has become my favorite John Irving novel. Many of his other works, while enjoyable, have put me off a little because the characters and plot are a bit over the top. This offering, while imaginative and entertaining, never gets to that stage. It's a big novel, spanning about forty years and has a satisfying, yet never hokey or corny ending. The characters, of course, are a bit quirky in their way, but said quirkiness is somehow more believable than in Irving's other novels. The story is a lot of fun and, because most of the characters are writers, allows Irving to explain and comment on the writing process. I sometimes felt he was answering his own critics while discussing the criticism of his character-writers. However, he has fun with the whole thing and never takes it too seriously, which is part of what makes this novel fun and enthralling. A Widow for One Year is a human story about loss and how far some of us would go for love. Highly recommended...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irving's wise Widow., April 17 2004
By 
G. Merritt - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
John Irving's 537-page novel tells the emotionally compelling story of its "melancholic main character" (p. 389), Ruth Cole, in three parts. The novel opens in 1958, when 4-year-old Ruth interrupts her 39-year-old mother, Marion Cole, having sex with a 16-year-old boy, Eddie O'Hare. It was a "sad time" (p. 54) in her parents' marriage. While the Coles suffer through the psychological impact of losing their two sons in an automobile accident, Eddie is unaware that he has been specifically hired by Marion's alcoholic husband, Ted, for the purpose of becoming Marion's lover for the summer, and that "it would have lifelong results" (p. 8) for all four characters. The Coles' personal tragedy first leads Marion to abandon her womanizing husband and infant daughter, and eventually leads Ted to commit suicide. Not surprisingly, Part Two of Irving's novel finds Ruth at age 36 attempting to cope with the emotional baggage from her childhood misfortunes, and Eddie at age 48 still longing for Marion. By 1990, both Ruth and Eddie have become established writers. However, it is not until 1995 and Part Three when, at age 41, Ruth is able to escape the depths of her lifelong misery by discovering love, and at age 53, when Eddie is finally able to confront his lifelong connection with Marion. Although Irving treats sexuality rather frankly throughout his unforgettable novel, ultimately his novel transcends the sexual realm and becomes a story about surviving personal misfortune and experiencing the healing powers of love. Irving brings his characters to life in a well-drawn story. It won't take a year--but more likely less than a week--for serious readers to discover the real wisdom in Irving's WIDOW.
G. Merritt
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that changed my outlook on life, Feb. 1 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: A Widow for One Year (Paperback)
This book is for sure an intellectual read as well as hilarious. The characters of Eddie and Hannah (especially their trip together stuck in a car) always made me laugh. An exciting read as well as interesting! It really is a certain type of book for a certain type of person. If you are very proper, don't read this book!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Irving at his worst, June 21 2002
By A Customer
After reading Hotel New Hampshire and A Prayer for Owen Meany (one of the best books I have EVER read), Widow for One Year was completely dissapointing. The characters are dull and not well developed, and worst of all the plot resembles a Lifetime movie. If you like Danielle Steele or romance novels, I recommend this book highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If You Liked the BOOK..., May 23 2003
By 
Jim Carpenter (lexington, Kentucky United States) - See all my reviews
Keep an Eye out for The Motion Picture, Titled "A Door In The Floor",currently in Production,Starring Jeff Bridges..No release date set yet,as of May 2003.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irving speaks to his readers, Nov. 12 2002
By A Customer
My take on this book is that Irving is speaking to us via the main character, Ruth Cole. She reminds us in many instances that an author is not to be so easily judged by what his/her characters do. They are the author's characters and will do whatever the author wishes, but this cannot be assumed to be an endorsement of any particular political point of view. I think Irving was writing to make this point throughout the book; it's just a story, and the characters make decisions that have life-altering impacts, but it's just a story that follows it's characters to whatever ends their choices lead them.
I loved the book not really because of my take above, but because every few pages Irving tosses in something that is spectacularly thought-provoking. The book was well-plotted, and you did wonder how it would end. The characters learned lessons and lived their lives. Along the way, Irving was able to give you something valuable to think about at every turn. I value that greatly about all his writing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Brialliantly read, an unbelievable story made real, April 18 2002
By 
L. Look "lbagwell" (Alexandria, VA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I noted that other reviewers loved or hated this book. It is long, but paints picture in the mind's eye worth seeing. It is the journey through the story that makes it a pleasure rather than cathartic moments. The tone, rhythm and voice of the narrator truly make this book on tape a masterpiece. I would listen to it again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great story brought full circle in classic Irving style, April 7 2002
By 
momazon "cjd" (Astoria, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Widow for One Year (Paperback)
A Widow for One Year is John Irving at his best. The story trails Ruth at three different stages in her life: as a 4 year old, a young woman, and a fortysomething.
Ruth is born into a family in stages of turmoil: her famous writer father Ted cheats on her beautiful lonely mother, Marion, who starts an affair with his 16-year-old assistant Eddie, who never gets over Marion even as he befriends Ruth in her later life. All of this stems from the fact that Ruth had two older brothers who died a tragic death years before she was born.
As Ruth grows up and becomes a writer herself (as does Eddie), their lives intertwine and relationships with her father and other characters develop, including an interesting terrifying episode in Amsterdam.
Like in "The World According to Garp", which also featured a character who was a writer, Irving takes the writer's own fiction and injects it into his own text, so there is a story-within-a-story, but it all connects and makes the book even richer.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Irving's Mid-write Crisis, April 6 2002
By 
Fitzgerald Fan (Troy, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Widow for One Year (Paperback)
To be plain and simple about it...this is hardly one of Irving's greatest accomplishments. It doesn't even touch "The Cider House Rules." Don't get me wrong, I finished the book and managed not to be thoroughly disappointed...but one thing is for certain, it did not leave me in anticipation every time I put the book down. While there is no doubt that John Irving is a talented (if not brilliant) literary novelist,this saga of the life of Ruth Cole was slightly better than luke-warm.
I'd have to say that Irving should have spent less time with incessant detail and more time with raw emotion...I saw little of that here.
In a nut shell, I found this novel to be somewhat predictable...and without trying to sound ridiculous, it seems more like it would have been written by Danielle Steele.
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A Widow for One Year
A Widow for One Year by John Irving (Paperback - 1999)
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