First of all, the book is long. Maybe the longest of Irving's books, coming in a little over 800. Contrary to the previous comment, I wouldn't call it a "word-processor novel." Who uses a word processor anymore? Like Dickens, Irving immerses you in a story and he doesn't mind taking his time, which I think is a great strength. I was never bored and, in fact, think it's one of his greatest novels. Before you read it, make sure you are reasonably comfortable with a lot of underage sexuality.
A word-processor novel. There are good word-processor novels, of course, but this one shows no sign that the author ever had anything in mind when he sat down to write but increasing the word count. Well, that's not entirely true; some actual people appear in the book, and some disguised-actual people, and he seems to be settling scores with the latter, and sucking up to the former. But when I finally reached the longed-for end of the book, I wondered: what was all that about? I don't know.
About as hetero as modern novels get. It's hard to tell if Irving is appaled or over joyed at the notion of boys being seduced (and lady-handled) by older women. Is the protagonist a cad or a victim? Is he deserving of his success or just really lucky? It's a book you can give yourself over to for about 50 pages before putting it down realizing what a "wet dream" of a read it really is. And then do it over again. It took me a few months to read this between other books I liked better, but I somehow felt I had to finish another John Irving novel. (The first being the exceptional "Son of the Circus). While there were enjoyable parts, it is ultimately long winded and repetitive. Alas, not really worth the time when there are better books out there.
I like this book but it seems to run on a bit.
Not one of his best. Good in parts, but generally slightly disappointing compared with his previous books.
800 pages but I only liked 200 of them.
Very John Irving, complex, odd, light and dark. Not my all time favourite, but definitely recommended. May offend a few female readers, but only a few.
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