By John Irving
Simon & Schuster, $15.99, 448 pages
In One Person, by John Irving, is one book not for the faint of heart. Throughout the story, we meet Billy, a young man who comes to grips with his sexuality in small town Vermont. Billy and his family, a family which is a lively bunch, including a grandfather who enjoys dressing up as a women when the local prep school theater troupe is short on female leads. I don’t want to give too much away on Billy and his family structure but it molds Billy into the person he becomes.
The story starts out when Billy is 70 years and looking back at the experiences that made him the man that he is today. As the story progress, the reader is exposed to the themes of homosexuality, bisexuality, and AIDS. Irving, who also wrote, “the world according to garp”, is an author who has dealt with many themes, including characters who are trying to find their place and way in life, which Billy is constantly trying to do throughout the book. He meets a cast of characters from the local transvestite public librarian spinster trying to broaden his views to his friends along the way that he loses to AIDS. I enjoyed reading In One Person, due to enjoying the stories that Irving creates and the places he takes me. I would recommend this book or any John Irving book to anyone who has an open mind and can accept people for their true selves. A pleasure to read.
Reviewed by Annie Hicks