Garp was named after his soldier father’s single mumbled word while on a hospital bed, the only sound Jenny the nurse could hear from the patient she thought needed sexual appeasement. Jenny cannot be bothered with a husband anyway: her only son has been a gift from the Nation and she is better off raising him alone. Jenny becomes a school nurse, and Garp grows up into an intellectual boy and wrestling champion. Jenny becomes a feminist and writes a bestseller: Garp is ashamed of his mother, her dubious friends (among who a transsexual) and wants to become a writer: unfortunately he is bound to be famous for his mother’s writings. Garp falls in love with a teacher and marries her. They have two wonderful sons. All too classical, in a classical world. Yet, this is The World According To Garp, an individual whose perception of events has been biased by his unconventional education, and who is forever haunted by his mother’s fantasies. John Irving is a story teller who makes every casual situation (birth, childhood, teenage, marital life) a chest full of irony and grim humour: you can’t help laughing when reading about the tragic events and “undertoads” that Garp struggles against. It is so close to reality, yet so incredibly mad. The World According to Garp flows like a river called Anyone. Garp is like a neighbour you spy on because his bad luck makes you feel more comfortable with your own business, and because you get all the attention when you gossip about him: you say “poor Garp” but you secretly crave to know what is going to befall on him next, and you think with awful pleasure “oh no, no, it can’t be worse”. Yet, it can definitely be worse. Just read it.