Tim O'Hearn's Reviews > Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump by Winston Groom
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it was amazing
bookshelves: my-top-eleven-all-time

Forrest Gump had a peripheral presence in my life that I never understood. For years, my childhood best friend begged me to watch the movie. It sounded like a dumb concept. So I never did. In high school, people used to yell "Run, Forrest, Run!" from their car windows as I pranced around town with the cross country team. We never quite figured out a proper retort, and I'd imagine the hecklers drew some pleasure from seeing us continue to, well, run. One time, I cried while listening to Forrest Gump by Frank Ocean, but that's another story entirely.

By the time I realized that the Forrest Gump in the novel wasn't a runner at all, it was clear that I was reading more than a funny adventure story. On the surface, the situational irony was delivered so well that I couldn't help but laugh out loud. It was juvenile but hilarious. Re-reading lines and entire paragraphs--something I rarely do--became common practice for me. Thinking about each of Forrest's adventures especially within the context of when it was written, though, reveals a much more grim social commentary. This is probably why people who saw the movie don't seem to like the book very much. Not because their imaginations have been warped by Hollywood but because it took an overhaul to reduce Forrest Gump to a PG-13 screenplay. I can't begin to speculate how different the two are.

Forrest Gump is really a story of lost innocence that is never lost. Even as he tumbles through two of the ugliest decades in American history, he ends up just the same. Some may argue that this just means his character wasn't developed very well. Instead, I would liken him to a superhero. He's a constant in a cruel, tumultuous world. A clash between the simple and the complex, a juxtaposition of the idiot and the savant, a paradox of boyhood and manhood combined.

Maybe, in calling this novel brilliant, which I am doing, I'm really just admitting that my life has been overcomplicated. That my innocence is still very much intact and so is the sense of wonder I feel when embarking on a new adventure. Why fart jokes still amuse me and yet the tic-tac-toe game at the end of the book is one of the most powerful scenes I have encountered in western literature. To read Forrest Gump without having seen the movie is an experience I will cherish. And while I'm still grappling over the true meaning- I'm reminded of all that could be right in the world. You know what I mean?
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Reading Progress

June 15, 2017 – Shelved
June 15, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
June 17, 2017 – Started Reading
June 20, 2017 – Finished Reading
November 6, 2017 – Shelved as: my-top-eleven-all-time

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by Rahul (new)

Rahul Firstly, I didn't know Forrest Gump was adapted from a book.
Secondly, from your review I realize that there's a considerable difference between the plot of the book and the movie.

I have watched the movie and I found it very powerful and moving. And I can only imagine how good the book would be!
You're in a unique position to view the character unadulterated by Hollywood. Maybe many years later - bring yourself to watching the movie and compare the two.


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