John Irving

Add a comment with your reflections on this author.

31 comments:

Keith (Bennett) said...

Don't let Irving’s lengthy novels intimidate you. After you read them it will be well worth it. I would highly recommend reading A Prayer For Owen Meany. The significance of the little things that the characters do throughout the novel come together to form an amazing ending. Because of Irving’s lengthy novels, pace your reading and create a schedule for your reading. If you don’t stick to your schedule, you’ll find yourself having to read 50 pages in one night, which you don’t want. After reading your first novel, or while reading it, put together a list of themes in the novel. Then while reading the next ones, keep picking themes that relate to all of your novels.

Michael (Rose) said...

I found that although the books were very lengthy, because I set up a reading schedule I was able to keep on top of it. I recommend that you do the same, because, as said in the last comment, you might find yourself having to read a large number of pages in one night. When all was said and done, the hardest part about Irving was finding common themes to connect all of the books (at least for me). Although it was a bit of a struggle, the final product was very rewarding.

Tyler (Rose) said...

Irving's novels, although long, are all very similar. It was easy to see themes that occured in all three novels that I read (The World According to Garp, A Prayer For Owen Meany, and The Cider House Rules). However, these themes require a lot of thought and planning to connect and create a thesis. The novels are long (500-600 pages each), and may seem to start slowly, but all of them have exciting and unexpected conclusions. Make sure you plan ahead when reading so you do not end up reading constantly every night. If you have a school vacation, take advantage of it. Also, I would suggest taking plot notes (with page numbers!!) so you can easily find quotations when writing your paper.

Liam(Rose) said...

I chose John Irving because I had heard from several counselors(teachers, parents) that he was a very funny writer, and I enjoy humor. It was not actually funny in my opinion, the books were not very funny for someone who does not study literature. I would recommend him to other students because his literature was not very hard to understand, and his underlying themes were not very hard to figure out. Furthermore, I would recommend focusing a lot more on the main characters and how they change throughout the novels. One tip I would have is to focus less on the style of writing of him, and more on the focus of his novels, because that is much easier to write about.

Michaela (Rose) said...

Although his books were really long, I really enjoyed reading Irving's novels. If you read them, you need to have a reading schedule and stick to it or else you will have to cram in your reading and it will not be as productive. They were very dense and sometimes they were hard to get through although usually they picked up speed closer to the end. Some of the topics and themes of his books were awkward and uncomfortable, but overall I enjoyed his writing and the plot of his novels.

Dan (Anderson) said...

I found reading John Irving to be very enjoyable. I feel that in order to fully enjoy reading his books however, it is necessary to throw away any pre-conceived notions you have about the world. Irving sets up stories that are rather wild and much that happens is unbelievable. Every minor detail in Irving’s long books (that I read—The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, and A Prayer for Owen Meany) all ties together to create what Irving has in mind for an end. I found it very interesting how he was able to make such long books and have each individual page of importance. I found the books easy to read, however they were very long. Twice I ended up reading a couple hundred pages in a few days and I would suggest to plan out the reading better to avoid this from happening.

Ashley (Anderson) said...

John Irving’s novels do seem lengthy when first examined, and let me warn you, they are not too easy to read, but his books are very exciting. They are dense with symbolism, themes, thrilling plots, and complex characters. Watch out though, because if you aren’t ready to read deep into a book, you may not want to choose him. On the other hand, the depth of his novels may also give you more things to talk about in your Author Thesis Paper. I read The Cider House Rules, and A Prayer For Owen Meany, and I was surprised at the contrast of the two books, but also how fun it was connecting them. A tip for reading Irving is to pay attention to detail. Small mentions of maybe even one word could end up being the most important part of the book in the end.

Jonathan said...

Jonathan (Brown)

His books are long but pretty easy to read (they are written in modern language). Almost all of them have traceable themes throughout (death, oppression of women, family). However some of his books get kinda gross. There's one where a guy falls in love with his sister and there's a lot of dismemberment of body parts. Do not read him if you are uncomfortable with this.

Kayla (Brown) said...

Do not be daunted by the length of Irving's novel. These books are PACKED full of connecting themes that are perfect to write a lengthy paper. The only book that was difficult to connect was Setting Free the Bears, which was John Irving's first novel. I also had read The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According to Garp, and The Hotel New Hampshire. Keep in mind, when reading his books, that notes are key. Each book is so packed full of information, that by the time you get to writing your physical paper, you have forgotten specific details about a book. One thing to note, however, is that Irving's books are quite graphic, and many of the books are related to lust and the complicated relationships between people. Overall, John Irving's books are challenging, interesting, dense and unique, and if you are looking for an author with abundant themes intertwined in every page, John Irving is the author for you.

Kayla (Brown) said...

Irving's novels are interesting, unique and challenging. Do not be daunted by the length of his novels. Each book is FULL of of different themes that connect to many of the other books he has written. I read The Cider House Rules, The World According to Garp, The Hotel New Hampshire, Setting Free the Bears, and A Prayer For Owen Meany. These books were easily connected by many common themes that were interesting and had the ability to support a long paper. Warning: Irving's books are very graphic, and if you are not comfortable with themes like lust, this is not the author for you. However, if you are up for a challenge, looking to read interesting and complex books, Irving is the author for you.

Han (Brown) said...

Irving's novels has many connected themes, and his books are very unique. Irving writes long novels, but it's fun to read it. I read The World According to Garp, Last Night in Twisted River, and Until I Find You. These books were very easily to connect, and there are a lot of quote to supports it. Irving's books are very graphic, if you are not feeling comfortable with his themes, then choose another author because that's a huge topic in his books. Personally, I enjoyed the books, they are complex, but very interesting to read and think the books. AND, if you wants to challenge yourself, try John Irving's books.

Anonymous said...

Haley (Dubé)

Despite how lengthy Irving's novels are, they are easy reads because of the contemporary language they use. The plots of his stories are bizarre and twisted which is what makes them so engaging. There are clear ties in themes in Irving's novels. The themes of lust, love, and death are present and almost all of his novels. I really enjoyed the novels, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According to Garp, and The Fourth Hand. However, Last Night Down Twisted River did not work well with my theme so I omitted it form my essay. If you are uncomfortable with topics such a lust and love Irving's novels are not for you, because they are very graphic. My best advice is to stay on top of your reading and take notes in the books so that you don't forget details in your writing. All in all, Irving's novels are interesting and rewarding to read.

Anonymous said...

Haley (Dubé)

Despite how lengthy Irving's novels are, they are easy reads because of the contemporary language they use. The plots of his stories are bizarre and twisted which is what makes them so engaging. There are clear ties in themes in Irving's novels. The themes of lust, love, and death are present and almost all of his novels. I really enjoyed the novels, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According to Garp, and The Fourth Hand. However, Last Night Down Twisted River did not work well with my theme so I omitted it form my essay. If you are uncomfortable with topics such a lust and love Irving's novels are not for you, because they are very graphic. My best advice is to stay on top of your reading and take notes in the books so that you don't forget details in your writing. All in all, Irving's novels are interesting and rewarding to read.

Anonymous said...

Haley (Dubé)

Despite how lengthy Irving's novels are, they are easy reads because of the contemporary language they use. The plots of his stories are bizarre and twisted which is what makes them so engaging. There are clear ties in themes in Irving's novels. The themes of lust, love, and death are present and almost all of his novels. I really enjoyed the novels, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According to Garp, and The Fourth Hand. However, Last Night Down Twisted River did not work well with my theme so I omitted it form my essay. If you are uncomfortable with topics such a lust and love Irving's novels are not for you, because they are very graphic. My best advice is to stay on top of your reading and take notes in the books so that you don't forget details in your writing. All in all, Irving's novels are interesting and rewarding to read.

Peter Stabnick said...

Peter Stabnick (Dubé) said...
Irving writes weird stories. However, you will find yourself deeply intrigued in his novels. The reading is very enjoyable despite his odd topics, odd characters, and odd plots. You will find that his novels are lengthy, some around 600 pages, but you will breeze through them due to your enjoyment. In addition, Irving clarifies his themes and topics, and offers incredible insight into his beliefs. Therefore, the writing process was fairly easy. The only struggle was connecting themes between books, but once I found the theme I was going to write about, it became easy to identify its place in the other novels. Reading John Irving provided me with a final copy I was proud to hand in.

Angie (Brown) said...

Hello sophomores! As you busy yourselves with the process of choosing an author thesis author, I hope that you’ll consider John Irving. Although his novels err on the long side (the ones I read were around 600 pages, but I was only required to read four), they are packed with action and move quickly, so they are by no means boring. As far as content goes, there are plenty of interesting and somewhat uncommon themes and character traits across his books, but they tend to include a lot of sex, so if that makes you nervous, I would stay away.
That being said, author thesis is a challenge (albeit a rewarding one) no matter which author you choose, and that is the advice I would like you to walk away with. Choose an author that genuinely interests you and whose work you could read for hours on end just for enjoyment, not the author whom your friends insist will yield him or herself to plenty of writing material, or the one who is most “easy.” In fact, I would advocate for just picking up a bunch of books by a whole lot of authors and reading a few pages rather than reading what others have to say about them. That way, author thesis will be both rewarding and (gasp!) fun.

Lauren (Brown) said...

Don’t be intimidated by the length of John Irving’s novels. Even though they are long books, I found them easy to read and enjoyable too. For my class, most kids read 6 books, but I got to read 4 since they were so long. I read Hotel New Hampshire, The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and The World According to Garp. I would recommend John Irving because his books are packed with symbolism, but they are humorous as well. His stories are extremely unusual which is what makes them fun to read. However, there were some graphic parts that really disturbed me (especially in Garp). I found it helpful to keep a notebook of quotes as I read. Although it seems tedious to write down every significant quote you see, it helps a lot in the long run and makes writing the paper much easier.

Brianna b said...

Irving had really interesting novels that I enjoyed reading. I read the world according to garp, the cider house rules and a prayer for Owen meany. All of which had a common theme that was easy to find evidence for. Although his books are long, you have plenty of time to read them, and they are not boring. They do have subtle jokes in them that some people may not understand. These books are for a mature audience that can handle the subject of death and dying. Overall, for John Irving the thesis itself was super easy to write and I recommend him!! -Brianna B (ms. Dube ) also remember to write down any quote you think will work for your thesis

Anonymous said...

Brianna (Anderson) said.....
I would definitely recommend John Irving for the American Author Thesis project because his works are just brilliant. His novels are very lengthy, but easy to read. I read A Prayer for Owen Meany, which I consider was the best book, A Widow for One Year, Cider House Rules, and The World According to Garp. I will warn you that some of these novels are disturbing and graphic at times, but they are bearable. Make sure you have enough time to fully read each. I will admit that there were some times where I had to read a few hundred pages in a day so do not procrastinate. When trying to figure out what to write about, brainstorm several themes and ideas, and you will get there. After reading his novels, you will find it to be well worth the time and energy you spent.

Anonymous said...

Brianna (Anderson) said.....
I would definitely recommend John Irving for the American Author Thesis project because his works are just brilliant. His novels are very lengthy, but easy to read. I read A Prayer for Owen Meany, which I consider was the best book, A Widow for One Year, Cider House Rules, and The World According to Garp. I will warn you that some of these novels are disturbing and graphic at times, but they are bearable. Make sure you have enough time to fully read each. I will admit that there were some times where I had to read a few hundred pages in a day so do not procrastinate. When trying to figure out what to write about, brainstorm several themes and ideas, and you will get there. After reading his novels, you will find it to be well worth the time and energy you spent.

Lucy (Anderson) said...

John Irving’s novels are long, but overall I enjoyed them very much. They are easy to read and sometimes funny, but the overarching themes are heavy. Nonetheless, it was fairly easy to come up with a thesis. I read A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, and The Hotel New Hampshire. My advice in regard to choosing books is that I enjoyed all of the ones I read, but would recommend reading A Prayer for Owen Meany last. Although it has similar themes to the other novels, I found them to be less obvious and they will be easier to find if you already know what you’re looking for. Essentially, if you are looking for a challenge and are willing to deal with the heavier ideas and themes in the novels, John Irving would be a good choice for you.

Alexander Izikson said...

I was very glad I picked John Irving for the American Author Thesis project. John Irving's novels are often very lengthy and he writes about strange and obscure topics. However, with a good reading schedule, you'll find that his novels are worth your time. I read The Hotel New Hampshire, The Cider House Rules, The World According to Garp, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and The Fourth Hand. All of these books addressed many deep topics and had very distinct messages that changed my outlook on things. John Irving is one of the few authors I have read that really made me reevaluate certain aspects of my thoughts and beliefs. In addition to providing many clear insights, John Irving's novels share many common and traceable themes which will be very helpful when you start the writing process. Overall, exploring Irving’s novels was a great experience and I highly recommend him!

Ardie Keenan (Schulz) said...

I mostly enjoyed Irving; however, he does tend to usually write long novels that are very descriptive and drawn out. I read A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Fourth Hand. Owen Meany was one of his longer books (around 600 pages) that jumps back and forth between past and present. While sometimes hard to follow, it is a very intriguing novel that plays with the big questions of life. The Fourth Hand is about half as long, unusual for Irving, and is funnier and quick-paced. It doesn’t jump around time periods as much, but you still need to keep a close eye on where you are in this novel, as you do in Owen Meany. Both are good reads, but if you dislike long-winded and descriptive books, Irving may not be the author for you.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed John Irving’s novels, despite the length. I found that they were very intriguing and ended up leaving the reader not wanting to put the novel down. Irving expresses his beliefs through his different and unique plot, his character development, and topics that spark controversy during the time period of when the novel takes place. I read According to Garp, my personal favorite, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and Until I Find You, all of which I loved. I found that Irving’s novels had a consistent theme making it easy to relate novel to novel while writing the paper. Irving novels are based on relationships and how sexual desires affect relationships, which some people may not be comfortable with and if so I would recommend a different author. That being said, Irving is realistic and straightforward and he offers more than sexual desires by sending a larger message through his overly specific pros. I found that they length was not a problem, but I would recommend sticking to a reading schedule in order to complete all of the reading. Overall, I found Irving was a perfect fit for my interest and I loved reading his novels and writing my paper on him.

eve said...

Although John Irving's books were extremely long, I enjoyed reading them because they were interesting and easy to read. Irving's books all revolve around the same broad theme, so it is easy to make connections between each book. Irving writes about controversial topics using interesting and unique characters and plots that make the long length of the book worth the read. He sometimes jumps around in his writing from time to time, but it does not make the reading confusing because it adds to his overlying themes and styles. I read The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, and A Prayer for Owen Meany, and enjoyed all of them. I found Owen Meany and Garp to be extremely funny and interesting and could not stop reading them because they were packed with great deeper meanings and had clear messages which were interesting to unfold. Cider House Rules was a little boring because it was not packed with as much action and humor as the first two, but it still had good themes and evidence for my paper. Irving writes in very easy wording, so sometimes it is hard to analyze a quote because it seems so simple at first. Overall, my reading experience was great and I would recommend Irving for anybody.

Caroline Kwok said...

I am very glad that I chose John Irving for my American Author Thesis. I thoroughly enjoyed his novels, although they are very lengthy. Despite their length (around 600 pages per book), his novels and his choice of topics were very intriguing and interesting, leaving the reader unable to put his books down. Irving's writing is very descriptive and at some times may be hard to follow, but eventually in the end, always seems to come together and send a greater message. I read A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According to Garp, and The Cider House Rules. A Prayer for Owen Meany is very lengthy but overall was my favorite of the 3. It jumps between present and past which may be difficult to follow at times but the novel's ending brings it all together (in my opinion, the best part). Irving's writing is very graphic at times, so if you are not comfortable with those types of topics, I would not recommend reading him; however, the Irving's ability to write about topics authors do not usually talk about kept me interested in the novels until the end. While reading, I found that Irving's novels had a consistent theme that was easy to follow and find evidence for. Although his novels are long (500-600 pages each), do not be deterred from reading them as they hook you in just in the first couple pages. I would recommend sticking to a reading schedule if you are to pick him as your author, as I found myself cramming my reading in at the very end. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Irving's novels and writing my paper on him. I would highly recommend him to others.

Chloe Troxell said...

I would highly recommend John Irving for your American Author Thesis. Almost every book I read had similar themes, so it was fairly easy to connect all of them in a thesis statement. I read A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According to Garp, and The Cider House Rules. While all of the books are over 500 pages, I found that the length was not a problem if I took notes, spaced out my reading, and made benchmarks for myself. Each one of these books was unique, but I found that they all tied together in the end once I finished reading all of them. Irving's books are not for everyone, because he writes about controversial topics, such as rape in The World According to Garp, and describes events very graphically. With this being said, I enjoyed how descriptive Irving is in all of his books, and it made me eager to read every page. Irving is comical, but also includes a lot of larger picture messages throughout his books, asking the reader to zoom out and examine what he is really trying to say about the nature of life. I found this extremely interesting, and it gave me a lot of captivating topics to write about. If you are willing to read his long books and are able to find higher realizations, then Irving will be the perfect author for you!

Caitlin Chicoski said...

I was initially interested in John Irving because I heard from many people that his books were good and that he was a great author. I then skimmed through some of his books and read summaries and they seemed intriguing, and I read multiple comments about him on this page saying that his themes were clearly identifiable. I read The Cider House Rules, The World According to Garp, and A Prayer for Owen Meany. Peoples recommendations and comments on his great writing skills were correct, although his books are very lengthy and hard to complete in the time allotted—I ended up wishing I had more time to read and digest them. His themes are clear in his books, and all of his books leave you very satisfied with the ending and how it connected to this main argument or theme. I would definitely say that the order in which you read the books is important, even though it's hard to know which to read first when you don't know what themes each contain. I read The World According to Garp first, which has a main theme that is different from the other two books, so I focused on that theme which led me a little off track for the others. I would recommend reading A Prayer for Owen Meany first, because that will place you in a good position to track themes in the following two. Another fair warning is that Irving's books are a little heavy, all of them containing sexual material and somewhat uncomfortable topics to some people (sex, abortions, sexual orientation, incest, etc.), so be prepared to encounter these in graphic detail. Other than those concerns, John Irving in my opinion is a terrific author and his books are great reads containing clear themes that leave you with a lot to write about.

Anonymous said...


Selena Zhang
I thoroughly enjoyed reading John Irving's novel's because his stories are intricate yet easy to comprehend. I found myself frequently drawn into his novels, which made reading Irving's lengthy novels (often times 600+ pages) a less formidable task. Irving often writes about obscure, sexual topics that can make the reader uncomfortable at times, but at the same time can add a nice touch of humor to keep the novels engaging and lighthearted. I read "The Prayer for Owen Meany," "The World According to Garp," and "The Cider House Rules," which were all great reads. Though at first it seemed as though these three books lacked commonalities, if you look beyond the obvious in Irving's writing you will find various connections throughout the novels, making the writing process easy and straightforward. Irving's style of writing flows smoothly and does not leave the reader grappling with the meaning behind his words. However, if you struggle to stay on top of assignments and foresee yourself experiencing difficulties in completing all of your reading on time, Irving may not be the best choice for you simply because of his novels' length. That said, I definitely would recommend John Irving for Author Thesis as his novels will keep you engaged and drawn into his writing throughout the entire process.

Katarina Guerrero said...

For my author thesis paper on John Irving I read "A Widow for One Year", "The Cider House Rules", and "A Prayer for Owen Meany". I chose John Irving because his books were highly recommended, and I really enjoyed his books even though they were long. One thing to note is that his novels are very character-driven and theme-driven, so if you don’t look forward to discovering underlying themes across several generations of characters, he might not be the author for you. Also, make sure to focus on major characters only, because often John Irving introduces several minor characters in depth, which can be confusing for taking notes. Note cards really helped me to organize my thinking, especially since there were so many potential themes to focus on that I struggled to constrain my argument- finding themes and arguments in the first place was not a challenge. If you choose John Irving, I suggest reading Owen Meany (one of his most popular novels) last!

Elizabeth Dew said...

Overall, I'm glad I chose John Irving as my author. His novels are quite long, but very intriguing and easy to understand. "A Prayer For Owen Meany" has become one of my favorite books if not my favorite. I highly recommend it because of the interesting characters that you fall in love with as well as the somewhat obvious themes that appear cover to cover in the book. However, my second book, "The Water-Method Man", has to be my least favorite book of all time. You hate the main character from the get go and some scenes are fairly difficult to read because of how vile they can get. The only reason I picked it was because it was his shortest book. It was one of the first books he wrote so his writing was not at its prime and the plot can get confusing.

My best advice is to create a reading calendar, especially considering the length of his books. I was able to keep up with it for a while but once I missed a day or two I would be over 100 pages behind so it got to be really stressful. If you plan out how much you have to read each night and stick to it the whole process will be a breeze.

American Author Thesis

Now that you have written your essay, we ask that you reflect on the reading portion of the experience and write 100-150 words about your author.

Think of what you write as advice for someone next year and beyond, someone who (like you were doing last fall) is thinking about choosing your author - and maybe even the same three books - to read for the assignment.