In One Person, John Irving


In one Person


Author: John Irving 

First Edition: Simon & Schuster, 2012

This edition: Simon & Schuster, 2012

Original language: English



See summary at John




“Aunt Muriel managed to be both arrogant and judgmental without saying anything that was either verifiable or interesting.”  (12)

“The character with a good heart and unbudging integrity is at greater risk in a menacing world.”  (40)

“When you love a book, commit one glorious sentence of it- perhaps your favorite sentence- to memory.  That way you won’t forget the language of the story that moved you to tears.” (41)



Classic John Irving, with everything that his readers love.  The humor and quirkiness and heartfelt characters, all wonderful.  Definitely liked it better than Last Night in Twisted River  or Until I Find You.  In One Person is a lot closer to the earlier Irving than to these last two novels.  The story was sweet and the language was typical Irving- loved every sentence.  As usual, the male characters were fantastic- the grandfather, uncle, father, step-father(s), they were all weird and nice, and mostly good people.  For John Irving lovers, this book does not disappoint.



The book follows the rise of the gay rights movement in New York, the US, and Europe, but mostly New York.  There are several great articles about the history of the movement like’s The American Gay Rights Movement, as well as a Time’s Visual History of the Gay Rights Movement. 

Charles Pierce as Baby Jane Hudson from 1987 g...

Charles Pierce as Baby Jane Hudson from 1987 greeting card series (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The book also dealt with drag culture.  There are a few great articles on what is genuinely an art form, including “Drag Shows: Drag Queens and Female Impersonators,” From Claude J Summers’ The Queer Encyclopedia of Music, Dance and Musical Theater.  The Article highlights Charles Pierce, possibly one of the best known female impersonators of the 20th century, who rose to fame in the very homophobic 1950s.  He was especially known for his impersonations of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.