Christine✨'s Reviews > The World According To Garp

The World According To Garp by John Irving
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Jul 16, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: highly-recommend
Recommended to Christine✨ by: Karen Bentley
Recommended for: writers
Read from July 16 to 20, 2010 — I own a copy , read count: 1

I had this book recommended to me by the woman we were staying with in Vienna; she said I had to read it because I would recognize streets from the part where Garp goes to Vienna. So I picked it up on a whim, and once I started it I couldn’t put it down.

This is one of those difficult books to “review” because the plot doesn’t fit neatly into one particular category. I suppose in one sense it’s about marriage, and lust, but in another way - and the part that most speaks to me - it’s about writing. In fact, as I was reading I found myself having to write down various writing-related quotes that stuck out to me, little bits of wisdom I wanted to remember. So instead of talking about the plot, or the characters, I’m just going to leave you with some of my favorite quotes and let you decide for yourself whether it’s worth your time (and it is).

Imagination, he [Garp:] realized, came harder than memory (123).

Perhaps in every writer’s life there needs to be a moment when another writer is attacked as unworthy of the job (125).

What I need is vision, he knew. An overall scheme of things, a vision of his own (153).

Garp discovered that when you are writing something, everything seems related to everything else. …A writer’s job is to imagine everything so personally that the fiction is as vivid as our personal memories (163).

As he would learn nearly all his life, nearly everything seems a letdown after a writer has finished writing something (166).

As long as Garp’s new novel progressed, no routine, however mindless, could upset him (182).

“I’m doing what I want to do. Don’t call it by any other name. I’m just doing what I want to do” -Garp (184).

What was “going on,” in Garp’s opinion, was never as important as what he was making up—what he was working on (185).

“You want too much. Too much unqualified praise, or love—or something that’s unqualified, anyway. You want the world to say ‘I love your writing, I love you,’ and that’s too much to want” -Helen, Garp’s wife (191).

He felt he was in danger of limiting his ability as a writer, in a fairly usual way: writing, essentially, about himself (228).

The responsibilities loomed for Garp, every time. What is the instinct in people that makes them expect something to happen? (252).

He was ruthless as a storyteller… If the truth suited the story, he would reveal it without embarrassment; but if any truth was unsuccessful in a story, he would think nothing of changing it (258).

When he tried to write, only the deadliest subject rose up to greet him. He knew he had to forget it—not fondle it with his memory and exaggerate its awfulness with his art. That was madness, but whenever he thought of writing, his only subject greeted him with its leers, its fresh visceral puddles, and its stink of death. And so he did not write; he didn’t even try (363).
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Reading Progress

07/16/2010 page 116
16.0% "It's only worth doing if I'm going to try to be the best."
12/28/2016 marked as: read
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