Say something about yourself!
I am a fan of John Irving. This book really let me down. The story is flat and unremarkable. Only the retelling of the AIDs crisis in the 80s had any emotion to it. It the story of closeted gay man who enjoys his men to have breasts and dress in women's clothing. I would really love money and hours of listening returned to me after this awful listening expereince.
I'm writing this review having set this book down. I did not set it down due to the subject matter, which is heavey on homoeroticism and transgender or LGBT subjects. That wasnt' the problem. I've read many of John Irving's books and enjoyed them condsiderably. His "thing" of self-reference and repetition of characters, places, and themes works for a suite of novels, but here, it just seems tired. He revisits his self-stated practice as a "re-qriter" to a fault, and it just seems self-indulgent, tired, and to be quite frank, boring. Irving is an excellent writer, and his voice is quite clear here. To those who are fans of his turns of phrase, and character creations, they may enjoy this novel. Where this novel lacks is in a dynamic narrative. It is much more or a character study than his other novels, but it seems to ask of the reader to care in the same way about a number of characters across a great breadth of time. I don't care. He didn't make me care. I found his characters uninteresting and the narrative totally flat. booooooooooo.
Irving jumped too quickly into his sage places of both character and setting to deal with a difficult subject. I found his description of the bisexual experience and the description of the historical LGBT to be well researched, but totally disingenusous.
"Over-reach" is an easy descriptor for this and some of Irving's other books. He has some fantastic novels, but is not ifallible. This book is falling heavy upon the success of "The World According to Gap", and "Hotel New Hampshire", and has nothing on them. As an extension of that, while Irving has proven in his bnovels that rewriting and revisiting memesc can work, it just makes him semm lazy and self indulgent in this one.
Just finished listening and I loved In One Person. Irving has certainly produced a winner.It ranks with A Prayer For Owen Meany. As a 59 year old straight woman I loved all the characters with diverse sexual orientations. In one word great penithesis!! Hickey did a superb job with narration. I rarely listen to a book again but will come back to this one for sure. If you only read one novel this year let it be In One Person. Bravo John Irving!!!!
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
Maybe not. I have read everyone of his books and he has been my favorite author.
This sounds so much like a prayer for Owen Meany. The whole setting is almost identical, a single mom, a private school in New England, the plays, etc. His Books are always similar, but this was way too close to what I consider his best, Owen Meany. Maybe he should cowrite a book within Steven King to spice things up. This could have been titled Owen Meany, the Sequel.
Good reader, and liked his performance. The issue is the material.
John Irving is very ambitious in In One Person: A Novel taking on gender roles and taking them on mainly though not exclusively through his gender bending protagonist, BIlly. The story is LOL at times until AIDS appears later in the book when reality is considerable more somber than playful youth. Billy is in love with the town librarian who appears to be a woman but appearances in this book are often not what they seem. Cutting across the sixty something lifetime of the prep school narrator Irving provides a tour of 20th century gender identification morality and the multiplicity of changes it goes through courtesy of his characters. Cross dressing is a given in Billy’s family with his grandfather eager to take on female roles in the town’s theater group. His birth father’s whereabouts and his legendary and eventually questionable qualities as a lady’s man are part of the finale that wraps up multiple gender shifting roles played by many characters in the book. Dad emerges near the end with a link to a story Billy remembered from a feverish visit of his youth involving a shipmate reading a novel perched atop a storm tossed commode. There is a bit more coming-of-age antics than I would like but Irving’s ability to tie these youthful discoveries to the child being the father of the man give it depth. Altogether a good read and well written as are all of Irving’s books.
I'm writing this review mainly to praise the narrator. John B. Hickey's performance was nothing short of brilliant. His voices and characterizations brought each of the characters to life in a way that was incredibly compelling to listen to. I still can here him saying "aaaah well...." Mr. Hickey was able to channel a clear personality and sound to each character and brought each one to life that sounded absolutely genuine to the listener. This is a huge achievement and Mr. Hickey is obviously a tremendous voice talent. As for the material I'm a big fan of John Irving's works, and this story is good. I suppose one could say that he was courageous in a way to attempt to write this book, but his usual literary tools stood out as such and overall lacked something intangible that makes his writing attain the greatness he's had so many times.
John Irving is a master at creating characters who capture the imagination and stimulate utmost sympathy. This book is funny, touching and honest.
John Benjamin Hickey delivers the narration every bit as skillfully as his acting performances.
As a general rule, I do not listen to books more than once because there is so much amazing literature and so little time! However, this will be one that I repeat, and I think I will enjoy it even more the second time.
Grandpa! If everyone had such open-minded family members, maybe our world would experience more peace and love!
I think it is aptly titled, and I wouldn't change the name!
I would recommend this book to any Irving fan
Hotel New Hampshire and The world according to Garp - mainly because of the recurring themes and characters
he is pleasant
Very much so
I loved this book! I loved the multitude of colourful and slightly mad characters, the timespan of telling a story over half a century (including the presence of certain political events or outbreaks as well as cultural changes during that time), the fascinating coming of age of a young person very different to "the norm", and most of all the clever, humourous and incredibly sensitive yet raw and honest way in which Irving handles such a delicate, difficult and often made taboo subject.
Whilst I had to suspend my disbelief that there were so many gay, lesbian, bisexual, cross-dressing and transgender individuals in a small town like "First Sister, Vermont", let alone as part of one family, I was actually happy to do that to go along with the flow of a most wonderful, mind-boggling and even educational (though sometimes, frankly, I learnt more than I'd ever have wanted to know....some of the descriptions of gay sexual practices are not to be read by the faint-hearted, I suspect. :-) story told by the very likeable and self-aware William Abbott.
During the last third of the book I felt that Irving repeated a lot of events and encounters between people to the extent that I was wondering whether either Bill Abbott, the narrator, or myself the reader was supposed to be a bit demented. Perhaps it was supposed to be part of Billy's growing old and reminding himself of certain events in his life but it was a bit too repetitive for me. It's possible, too, that the repetitions were supposed to serve the reader's memory because there were so many different characters central to various parts of Billy's life.
In fact, I already mourn not only the fictional deaths of many of the book's weird and wonderful characters, but also the loss of the company that Billy Abbott provided me with over the last ten days, in the form of the outstanding audio narration by John Benjamin Hickey.