Customer Reviews for

The World According to Garp

Average Rating 4.5
( 99 )
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(69)

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(18)

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(7)

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(3)

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(2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

A story built upon true character...

This was my first John Irving book. When I first started, the book seemed a bit crowded with detail that seemed to slow the story down, but the style of the writing was not what made me a fan of the book. It was the characters that sold me. To me, the story was abou...
This was my first John Irving book. When I first started, the book seemed a bit crowded with detail that seemed to slow the story down, but the style of the writing was not what made me a fan of the book. It was the characters that sold me. To me, the story was about how people define themselves. What events make us who we are, and how the goals we set for ourselves help shape what we become. Garp is a writer who is always striving to create his greatest work. Ironically, the story that gains the most notoriety is the one written when he was at his most innocent in life, his first. Life can hinder the imagination because we relate life experience to our storytelling. It fashions how we see and interpret things. Admittedly, some of these characters are extremes, but you have to appreciate the irony and humor of Jenny, a woman whose misinterpreted independence turns her into a pivotal player in the feminist movement. Each character is defined by the choices they make, the paths they lead. Although it is not the most upbeat ending I've ever read, the power of the book shows how different events have such dramatically different consequences on each person. The roles of sexuality, greatness and political correctness, family, and marriage are all explored in very real and graphic ways. By following each character to their end (literally) you can appreciate how the cycle of life continues and how each character left their mark on those around them. By the end of the book, you can't help but feel sorry to see this eccentric cast of characters go. A good read.

posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Quite a read

I read quite a bit of fiction and I really like Irving's style. He is a very honest author, telling you the truth of what it would be like to be in the character's shoes. I think that the graphic sections of the book were not too much, but came very close to the edge ...
I read quite a bit of fiction and I really like Irving's style. He is a very honest author, telling you the truth of what it would be like to be in the character's shoes. I think that the graphic sections of the book were not too much, but came very close to the edge - which I liked. I need to be shocked and this book did it while keeping the characters real. My only complaint: it moved a little slow.

posted by Anonymous on September 29, 2004

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2006

    A story built upon true character...

    This was my first John Irving book. When I first started, the book seemed a bit crowded with detail that seemed to slow the story down, but the style of the writing was not what made me a fan of the book. It was the characters that sold me. To me, the story was about how people define themselves. What events make us who we are, and how the goals we set for ourselves help shape what we become. Garp is a writer who is always striving to create his greatest work. Ironically, the story that gains the most notoriety is the one written when he was at his most innocent in life, his first. Life can hinder the imagination because we relate life experience to our storytelling. It fashions how we see and interpret things. Admittedly, some of these characters are extremes, but you have to appreciate the irony and humor of Jenny, a woman whose misinterpreted independence turns her into a pivotal player in the feminist movement. Each character is defined by the choices they make, the paths they lead. Although it is not the most upbeat ending I've ever read, the power of the book shows how different events have such dramatically different consequences on each person. The roles of sexuality, greatness and political correctness, family, and marriage are all explored in very real and graphic ways. By following each character to their end (literally) you can appreciate how the cycle of life continues and how each character left their mark on those around them. By the end of the book, you can't help but feel sorry to see this eccentric cast of characters go. A good read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful

    I just finished reading this novel and it has become one of my favorites. John Irving is such a fantastic writer. T.S. Garp and Jenny Fields are two of the greatest characters ever written and the story is original, funny, heartbreaking, sad and, at times, horrible. I enjoyed every word. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves novels because this is a novel written for the reader.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2010

    The Perfect Novel

    I've been a fan of John Irving since I read "A Widow for One Year" several years back. I decided to visit this story as it was his most famous and I recalled it being studied in my high school, although I was not in that class. If I had to choose I would say it is the best book I've ever read. The themes of life, death, gender identity, sexism, sexuality, human neuroses, marriage and family are so deftly woven into the perfect "dramady" of a story, I cannot imagine any other book coming close. That you can simultaneously identify with every single character at some point in the book (even if you previously hated them, and vice versa) is only testament to the most overriding theme of all- the world and the characters in it are ever-changing with our ever-changing perspective. As Garp's world view evolves we see that what was once ridiculous is now wholly understandable, what was once noble and beautiful, is now a silly outdated sentiment. Death is the ultimate equalizer, and hence the main theme. If we are all terminal cases, we have far more in common than we realize.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2008

    A Good Read

    Never in my life have I read a book like The World According to Garp, though luckily that¿s a good thing. John Irving really delivers in this book, even if its not heart stopping on the edge of your seat reading material, but it is a clever and accurate take on life through fictional characters 'although I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't, from the way Irving so deeply develops them it is hard to tell'. The main bulk of The World According to Garp is about Garp from the fetus to his death bed with chapters or sections here and there about his mother or one of their stories. The book begins with Garp¿s mother being arrested for cutting a soldier in a movie theater and unfortunately that¿s as interesting as the beginning with Garp¿s mother gets. Garp¿s mother is a very unemotional piece of work before she has Garp and she tend to not understand many children can understand due to her sheltered and loveless life and yet she¿s not unhappy about it. To me the book drags on and is a little awkward in places until Garp¿s birth, but its well worth it to read through it. Once Garp is born you really receive the full potential of Irving¿s writing because after he¿s born Irving portrays every emotion through the book phenomenally well and you really feel each and every emotion like its your own. Another thing I really loved about The World According to Garp was the book¿s tone. The books satirical and a little sarcastic tone really put this book on another level for me. I had never before laughed when reading a book until now, even in books that have tried to be funny I had never laughed, but The World According to Garp just communicated to me on such a level that I really laughed for the right reasons on many, many parts of the book. Overall, I really recommend this book because its pros well outweigh its cons, its clever, its funny, and it¿s an all around a good book. Although it will not be a suitable book for some ages due to its very mature content throughout parts of the book, in the form of curse words, sex scenes, and other R rated debauchery.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2007

    You'll want to read it again someday

    Almost Dickensian in its breadth and scope, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP is likely to rank among American literature's classics of the 1970s. Through the characters of Garp, his family and the eccentrics they encounter, Irving makes readers laugh and cry at the beauty and pathos of human existence. Save your copy. You'll want to read it again someday.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2006

    It's made it onto my Top 5..

    This book has EVERYTHING. You'll laugh, you'll ache, you'll feel moved.. read it!! NOTHING is forced, the characters are SO REAL, it's surprisingly witty, sad, just EVERYTHING. It's genius.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2004

    Quite a read

    I read quite a bit of fiction and I really like Irving's style. He is a very honest author, telling you the truth of what it would be like to be in the character's shoes. I think that the graphic sections of the book were not too much, but came very close to the edge - which I liked. I need to be shocked and this book did it while keeping the characters real. My only complaint: it moved a little slow.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2002

    How can you not love it?

    I absolutely loved this book, and I was shocked to see that it only had a four star rating. So I read all the reviews, and I found that people that didn't like were offend by the sexual content. Guess what people, sex is a big part of life!!!!! Especially for happily married people. Sex is not offensive, it just is. Get real people.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2002

    The book is so real...amazing!

    I wasn't too enthusiastic after the first 4 chapters. Then I thought Garp and his mother would be trapped forever in Vienna, and nothing too special would ever occur in their lives. And all of a sudden, I could not let it out of my hands. It's pulsating with life, with the real life most of us experience every day. At the same time, it makes you think whether you want to be Garp, to be able to feel like Garp...I am not sure I have fully understood him, a re-reading of the book is definitely imposed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2001

    Best Book I've Ever Read!

    This book is absolutely amazing! I couldn't put it down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    One of of my all-time favorites book written by one of my favori

    One of of my all-time favorites book written by one of my favorite authors! Irving really takes the time to develop his characters within the story. It is obvious that he is extremely meticulous in his method, and it shines brilliantly in "Garp." None of Irving's characters in this book are without flaws, and that is what makes them so relatable and believable. Irving's stories are truly about life: how we adapt to change, how we overcome adversity, and even how we fail to measure up to our own expectations. Read it...you will fall in love...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    Mature adults only. Difficult to understand first few chapters but if you stick it out, you will love it! Very moving! The ending is unexpected and really good!

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  • Posted February 19, 2012

    Highly recommended

    I have never been disappointed when ordering from Barns & Noble.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2011

    A Must Read

    The World According To Garp is the type of novel that you simply don't want to end, but can't turn the pages fast enough. Hilariously funny, brutally honest, and amazingly observant, John Irving is everything a reader could ask of an author and more. If you are looking for a good read and haven't yet checked out Garp, you must do so immediately.

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  • Posted April 30, 2011

    Strongly Recommended

    The World According to Garp by John Irving is a novel full of emotion, both good and bad. It contains elements of humor, despair, and romance. This book tells the story of T.S. Garp and his experiences throughout his life and allows the reader to enter into his world. I would reccommend this book to an older audience, because there is some bad language used and also some scenes of sensuality. The title of this book is perfect because it tells you exactly what the book is about- the world according to Garp. Throughout the book, the reader hasa the opportunity to read some of Garp's stories and to see how he grows as a writer. This is interesting because we can see that as he grows older, his books become more about his own life and less about fictious people.These stories are probably the most interesting and exciting parts of the book, for me anyway. The author, John Irving, does a wonderful job in creating unique characters that add a lot to Garp's life. He allows the reader to see how their lives are and doesn't always focus on Garp, especially at the end of the novel. The ending, although sad, provides an insight at what the world is really about.

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  • Posted December 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A strange and disturbing story

    I remember reading Garp in college. A professor of mine mentioned that he saw me reading it and that he found it to be a grotesque novel, what with women cutting off their tongues and such. I agree. It has a certain grotesqueness about it, but it doesn't seem all that far-fetched to me. There are plenty of people mutilating their bodies in contemporary society, often for less compelling reasons. I think the most troubling thing about the novel is that almost every woman in it is incapble of functioning in the world. I don't know many women like the ones drawn in this story, if any. It seems somehow...wrong.

    But it is an interesting read. Worth trying.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Too Wordy

    I just can't get past all of Irving's secondary and tertiary stories.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    One of the best

    It's John Irving - what can I say. Second only to Cider House and Owen Meany. Who else would write two complete short stories embedded in his novel! I did a 10-page paper comparing Meany to it's movie rendition, Simon Birch. Researched Irving extensively and I have to say, he's quite an interesting character. He also gave tips on how he goes about composing a novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2008

    Perfect

    I loved the World According to Garp. I am a sophomore in college, but my freshman Lit Composition teacher recommended it to my class. I am so grateful to her. This has been my favorite book I've ever read. Irving truly makes you care about his characters and their lives. He talks about every aspect of humanity and our relationships, from Jenny's confused outlook on lust to the intense love that Garp and Helen share and the parental love they find in their heart for Ellen. This is an amazing read, it is hard to put down and it provides a beautiful glimpse of humanity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2008

    Irving provides a fairly good read, hard to put down

    Irving's novel, The World According to Garp provides a thrilling, hard-to-put-down read for mature audiences. The book is very likable, and keeps you coming back for more! Irving builds deep, rich characters who are able to believably interact with each other. I really liked the book in the fact that it had multiple stories within stories. Via Garp's writing, the reader gains perspective into his emotions and his style of coping with all of the events in his life. I would definately recommend this book to people who are not easily offended based on grounds of language or sexual content.

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