John asked:

My local library has this categorized as "Teen Fiction". Would anyone who has read this book agree? Trying to decide what to say to them.

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Gretchen I question your librarian's ability to library.
Thomas Maxwell I read this book when I was 16--it was intense, exciting, hilarious, beautiful, and pretty accessible... I'd already been digging through "unexpurgated" classics in the quiet back room of an almost forgotten used book store--Henry Miller, William Faulkner, Anais Nin, Herman Hesse... those books got under my skin and stirred something essential, deep, weird... Garp felt much more familiar, felt like it almost came from the world I lived in or could imagine living in.
Colette None of Irving's novels should be classified as Young Adult/Teen Fiction. These are adult novels with adult themes. That does *not* mean a teen can't enjoy the novel. After all, adults enjoy the Harry Potter books even though they are categorized in libraries as children/teen books.
Magdalena Grochola I read it this year (aged17) but I usually search books for myself in the adult category because I'm mature enough, and I was often disappointed with books found in the teen category. I think it should be in the adult section.
Carol Albert Comments are straying from your question. Some teens will enjoy reading this, but that doesn't mean it should be categorized as "Teen Fiction." It is not teen fiction and I don't think it was ever intended to be. Irving specializes in adult fiction that gets us thinking. If a teen reads the back cover synopsis and thinks that this might be a good read, they should go for it, but it isn't teen fiction.
Jonkonfui why not? Maybe not for a 12 or 13 year old child but for a 16 year old, why not?.
I do not understand so much concern about books (i repeat BOOKS) suitable or not for children... If a child or teen reads it and he/she likes it, then it is suitable for him/her.
I do not think a book will spoil a child.
Charles This is not a teen fiction book. Period. End of discussion.

That does not say that there are some mature teens that might enjoy this book. This might be said of any book, of course. But the ubiquity and intensity of the multiple sexual themes places this firmly in the adult camp.

It might be of interest that in an interview the author stated that it was several years after writing TWATG that he allowed HIS teenage children to read it.
Tim Healy The average teenager isn't going to have the stamina for this particular novel. It's dark, but it's also got a lot of VERY adult themes. There are obviously teens that could handle this, but pick and choose very carefully.
Todd Schriver It's one of those books like Aldus Huxley's Brave New World or Hemmingway's The Old Man and The Sea that can be very meaningful as a teen and can have new meaning when read as an adult.
If your kid is too young they are unlikely to find it interesting anyway. Sexuality is generally uninteresting to kids that haven't reached puberty, especially in literature. Teens usually need less protection from this than parents would think. Read it first for yourself if you are worried about it.
Kavita Absolutely not. I would not recommend a 13 read this. However, it's definitely a coming of age novel. I would say college-level age. Whether you still consider that "teen fiction" is up for debate since the teenage years span a big range of ages and definitely stages.
Vincent I think this book can be in teen section, it takes part in general knowledge which young peoples have to know nowadays. You're right Magdalena, "teen books" in library are in dearth of bad and smoke situation, they are in lack of reality, of real life..
Barbok I wouldn't classify Garp as teen fiction. It is very much an adult book with adult themes. However, I would never discourage an older teen from reading it. (I think younger teens would easily grow bored.)

I first read this book shortly after it was released. I was around 17 at the time. Although I loved it, I don't think I really understood or appreciated some of the themes until I was much older.

I reread it once every few years and find something different each time.
Mitch Teemley No. Among other things, it contains a prolonged and extremely graphic description of a violent rape and killing that the book itself describes as borderline unpublishable.
Emma Teens should read anything they feel is interesting. Having the book categorized as Teen Fiction might mean that lots of adults will not read it. Throwing the baby away with the bath water.
Kattie It probably has to do with the book showing up on AP testing for high school students.
Linda It's for young ADULTS, not young adults. There's a difference.
Chris Wilson No. That being said, would older teens probably enjoy the book? Yes. But it's not a book written for teens as such.
Aimee Generally speaking I would not categorise this as teen fiction. Some readers, however, are more mature than others and may have what it takes to process the ideas that the novel discusses. I would not recommend it be read by teens under 17, for example.
Leigh Carroll I read it as a teenager, like 14 I think.
Katherine Evans-Pearson I read this book as a teen and loved it. It really sang to me.
Zen419 I read this book aged 16yo. I'd just finished Wuthering Heights and Catch-22 and was recommended to try this. I absolutely hated it. If I had reviewed it at the time, I would have simply written "Boring". I got 2/3 of the way through and remember making a very conscious decision to stop wasting any more time on it. I've never gone near an Irving book since. My loss, perhaps, but there are plenty of other authors
Melissa I would consider that misclassified. They are not the intended audience, however I think older teens may still understand and enjoy it.
LCV Luna not a teen book, its for adults, of course a teen can read it and definitively will love it, but the real category should be adult fiction
Aaron I first read this book as a sophomore in high school. There are parts of it where the title character is at about the same age. When I first read it I resonated with those parts the most. About 10 years later I read it again and I felt a much deeper appreciation for the later years of the characters life. The best part about a good portion of Irving's novels is that you follow the characters from birth to death so different parts of his books will speak to you depending on when in your life you read them. At least that's been my experience.
Terry Candee no way is this a book for teens. they would not appreciate it
eeee definately not there is sexuality language violence and discussing cross dressing.
Pamela What Mary said - a coming-of-age novel for adults.
Edward Smith I read this quite a number of years ago but I don't believe that would be the category that would come to mind for me.
John Yes. I emailed them and asked them to review that.
Sarah I disagree. It has a ton of adult themes.
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by John Irving (Goodreads Author)
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