Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Entry # 73 - READERS TALK BOOKS - John Irving's In One Person - Reviewed by Dorothy Nelson

Today I will try a new feature on this blog.  Starting today I invite READERS to TALK about books they've read.  If you would like to talk about a book, send an email to me and I will collect these, edit a bit, if necessary, before posting your comments on the first Tuesday of each month, under the title, READERS TALK.  Send email to:   janbowmanwriter@gmail.com 

I am convinced that the book in all of its many tangible forms, formats and varied genres is far from dead.  
I believe that as more interesting content is accessible to almost anyone who can read, and find a "brick & mortar" bookstore, a public library, or an online source, more people are reading and will read.  We won’t all read, enjoy, and recommend the same things, but readers are sprouting up everywhere.  So let’s explore that thought a bit here.  Let's TALK ABOUT BOOKS.

What do you read?  How often do you read? I ask friends and family to see what they’ll say. We might begin with questions like:  What was the last really good, or perhaps, great book that you read?   Or What are you reading right now?  Why did you select this book to read?  Or  - What book stopped time for you, in that you could not put it down and you were sad when it ended? 

So I’ve said a few words about this topic, and now I’ll toss it out there for a larger reading public.  In 300 words or so - write a note and email it to me about what you’re reading and why you are reading it.  This idea comes from a regular blog reader.
Recently I had an email from Dorothy Nelson from Tacoma, WA and she had read an earlier post in which I talked about what readers think of their books. So she sent a brief email about the book she just finished reading so she gets to be the first posting for this new series:
Hi Jan - I just finished reading John Irving's latest book, IN ONE PERSON. Here are some of my comments and if you think this is suitable for your blog please post it.

IN ONE PERSON,  is the first John Irving book that I have read, although, I admit, I have a copy of THE CIDER HOUSE RULES that's been lying on top of one of my book shelves for the last seven years. Now I'll finally read that too. Some things I know about John Irving are part of the book -- he loves wrestling, Shakespeare and opera.  And the bisexuality theme comes through. The book spans a lifetime and takes us through the eighties and nineties and the devastating AIDS epidemic. BUT there is sufficient humor, to be sure -- laugh out loud humor. Just imagine a small Vermont town's community playhouse filled with a family of actors, including a cross-dressing grandfather, two daughters (bossy and somewhere in their 40s), add a stepfather for the main character, Bill, to the mix and stir.  Now imagine one of the daughters saying "Daddy's not a dyke!" That would compel anyone to begin reading this novel immediately.

I must admit that somewhere in the middle of the book I grew tired of reading about Bill's mispronunciation of "penis" because he says it so that it sounds like "penith" and of course,  his obsession with that and other parts of the body, including: tits, vaginas, as well as his focus on the differences between people who are transsexual versus transgendered, seems over the top after a while. But just when you think you've seen it all, Irving introduces us to a new plot twist in this tale and we're off and running in another related direction. So the book held my interest. And I will read THE CIDER HOUSE RULES.

In my opinion John Irving is a very tidy author, in that he doesn't leave messy plot threads hanging. As I approached the ending, I found that all the loose ends came together -- nothing is left without some degree of resolution. And the ending does not let you off the hook.  You will connect and in my case, I admit that I shed some tears. This is a great read and belongs on a summer reading list.  Irving is a very fine contemporary author who has produced a blazing page turner.  Bravo Mr. Irving!!

So let's talk about what you think of what you’re reading. Do you recommend it or not? Drop me an email for the first Tuesday in August posting.   janbowmanwriter@gmail.com

Jan Bowman’s work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, Broadkill Review, Trajectory, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes, and others. She won the 2012 Roanoke Review Prize for Fiction. Her stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories and a story was a finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest. She is working on two collections of short stories and currently shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection. She has nonfiction work pending publication in Spring 2013 Issues of Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at:

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this cover is definitely striking. I love Irving's writing and it sounds like it tackled a really difficult subject in this book. I'd definitely be interested in reading this one!