I read this book a long time ago. Although I enjoyed it at the time, what I remember most about it now is how blokey it is. It features the eponymous Garp, his life and loves and his fatherhood.
I remember also some bizarre things which were not as funny as Irving is cracked up to be. His mother, for example, does not wish to have sex with a man and so conceives him by sex with a wounded soldier whose brain is so damaged that he seems to have the capacity of a baby. His wife – driven into a crappy affair from what I recall by Garp’s own infidelities – bites off another man’s penis while giving him a blowjob, when Garp himself unexpctedly comes home and accidentally drives into the back of her car – one of their two sons is killed in this accident, which was given considerably less mileage than the loss of the penis. Another character in the novel is a woman named Ellen who was raped by men who cut out her tongue supposedly to prevent her from telling anyone about it (I guess they thought she couldn’t write): a weird cultified band of women thereupon come together to cut out their own tongues – I can’t really remember why.
Suffice to say, at this stage in my life I do not wish to re-read this book. Since I have already read it once, I am not breaking BRP rules by writing from memory and so this is what you’re going to get!
In short – if any of the above incidents strike you as funny, read this book. If not, you’re probably best off – like me – moving swiftly on to other things.
Here’s an Amazon link.
I thought I still had a copy from before, but evidently not as I couldn’t find it!