The World According to Garp by John Irving
Here is a popular book I missed until now. I picked it up on a whim when browsing at a bookstore. I was somewhat familiar with the plot before reading it, but realized early on that I did not really imagine this novel the way it truly is. I found it to be very humorous at times, but overall dark. The distance I experienced from the characters was also rather unnerving. Still, the layers to this novel are just incredible and waiting for discussion/interpretation.
Since many have read this book already and one can easily find a plot summary, I will avoid giving the basic details here. Some elements I found worthy of consideration include the violence against women, the issue of violence or threat of violence in general, and the meaning of the feminist nurse character. Beyond this, the Ellen Jamesians, women who have silenced themselves by cutting out their tongues in protest and communion of rape victim Ellen James (although Ellen James does not want their support), are intriguing and open to various interpretations. Just consider that there are all these women walking around in this novel who cannot talk, due to self-mutilation. Pretty dark, but thought-provoking as well.
I’ll end by saying that the character name Jillsy Sloper is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time. How perfect and ridiculous is that name? I laughed all day about it.
I think I’ll watch the movie now.