I've read this book 4 times in the past couple of years, and enjoy it more each time I read it. John Irving is a master of character development, and the writing is impecable. A totally satisfying story.
I had high hopes for this book, and did find it mildly entertaining. It is well-written and offers some fun and interesting "clues" that might explain how the wicked witch became wicked. However, I don't feel her character is fully -- or believably -- developed. It's a fun read, but I was disappointed overall.
If you like a compelling story that is well-written, this book is for you. Stephen King is at his best here, and the book is hard to put down. Also see the movie - but AFTER you have read the book.
I decided to read this book because it is a classic of 20th century literature, and because my English-professor husband recommended it. However, I had to stop listening after a couple of hours. I found the writing disjointed and choppy (perhaps the author's intention), and the characters unsympathetic. The book reminded me of the TV show, MASH, which I also hated. Although I do enjoy some kinds of black humor, I guess I am offended when it is applied to war. If you have similar feelings, con't waste your time on this cynical book.
This is a terrific book. As always, I'm impressed by the author's ability to write convincingly from a child's point of view, and to create a compelling story. William Hurt is stunning as narrator, and Stephen King is also excellent.
I enjoy many of Stephen King's works, although I am not generally into the supernatural or horror genres. He's a very good writer, and I have especially enjoyed MISERY, DESPERATION, DOLORES CLAIBORNE, THE GREEN MILE, THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON, and many of his short stories. His autobiography is also terrific -- a must-read for students who want to be creative writers. But this book just didn't do it for me. I did not find the characters compelling, and the story was not memorable.
I gave up on this book after about an hour. The narrator was annoying, and I began to wonder if the book was abridged. It's already a short work, but this version seemed so compressed that it reminded me of some of the disastrous abridged versions I have accidentally downloaded previously. What a disappointment this was!
I couldn't stop listening to this book. The story is compelling, the narration very good. Now I really want to see Sean Penn's movie version.
I'm a real John Irving fan, and my absoute favorite book is A Widow for One Year. I had high hopes for this book, and was eager to get started on it. Unfortunately, it was a big disappointment, especially when compared to A Widow for One Year. The opening chapters are too long, and I got bored with the descriptions of the main character's travels. The story becomes interesting - and very disturbing - when the young boy experiences sexual abuse at the hands of adult women. But as the story progesses this becomes utterly absurd and unbelievable. At some point I realized I no longer felt sympathy for the young boy who seems as perverted and freakish as the women he is abused by. I also found the ending unconvincing. If you haven't read A Widow for One Year, download that one instead of this one!
The description of this book, as well as the critical and customer reviews, made it intriguing. However, I was very disappointed overall. The subject matter is interesting, but this story is annoyingly far-fetched, particularly the last fourth of the book. I would much rather read a nonfiction account than this rambling tale. Although the author spends an enormous amount of time exploring several generations of a family, the characters are not really developed in an authentic way. I also found the performance annoying, particularly the ridiculous music/sound effects. No doubt the interesting subject matter has drawn many readers to this book, but I would not recommend it.
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