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In One Person by John Irving
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Oct 04, 12

Read in January, 2012

Okay, I've read just enough to get over the "this is no Owen Meany" phase of reading any post-Owen, John Irving book. Along with being set in a small New England town that's home to a boys private school in the 1950s and 60s, and having a young male narrator who attends the academy as a faculty son, this is Irving's novel told in the first-person since, "Owen," my personal favorite, and the similarities between the two stories are welcome and familiar but also leave me missing Owen's presence and HOPING HE WILL JUMP ONTO THE PAGE.

However, I've now read enough to firmly see Billy, the title character, as distinct from Johnny, Owen's narrator, with his own story and trajectory. I think partly it's because the story has started to move beyond the character's prep school days, currently I'm reading about Billy's collegiate European stint, and so its uniqueness is starting to show. If I know Irving, we'll get callbacks to the earlier part of the book, but it was a smart move to give us a glimpse of the future early (1/3 way in) to the book, or at least it worked for me. Now I'm hooked on what's going to happen to Billy ... Good job so far Mr Irving. More later.

***
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