Heather Crabbe's Reviews > In One Person

In One Person by John Irving
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Aug 10, 2012

it was amazing

I should start by proclaiming my great love for John Irving. I count both "The World According to Garp" and "A Prayer for Owen Meany" two of my favorite books of all time, and with a few exceptions (Water Method Man, 158 Pound Marriage, and Son of the Circus) I genuinely love his other books, each one for it's own specific and individual reasons.

This one, however, is my favorite book by Irving since the aforementioned Owen Meany.

True, some of the plot details are slightly unrealistic (see some of the other reviews on here), but that's true of many of Irving's works--that's why they're so compelling--they're different, a little wacky, a little outrageous.

I love this book because first of all, I couldn't put it down, and that's always a mark of a great read. It has the humor of "The Fourth Hand" and the outrageousness of Garp. It is earnest and frank and compelling.

Second of all, what an important topic for Irving to address! The foreshadowing of the AIDS epidemic and its role in Billy's life is poignant from the first hint, and the accounts of the early 80s are tragic and moving and painful, much as I'm sure the time itself actually was for all of those affected.

I love the theme regarding the past, and the past's influence on our present and our future, and the repeated phrases and images that help to create the theme.

I love that Billy himself (as many of Irving's main characters) has some not so admirable traits, and is thus humanized.

At the time I read it, I didn't love the ending, but I think that's only because it was the ending and I wanted the book to keep going. I do love the sentiment expressed in the end, which is one of the "repeated phrases" in the novel and emphasizes the importance of getting to know a person rather than judging him or her because of what you think s/he is, which is of course, the most important theme of the book.

Thanks again, Irving, for an infinitely readable and compelling text.
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