7 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
February 12, 2004
It took over 18 months, but I finally got around to reading all of
Anyway, given that this was the last one I read, my perception of "158-Pound Marriage" suffers a little because I know that Irving went on to write much better books like "The Cider House Rules" (still my favorite), "World According to Garp", and "A Son of the Circus". I think if I had read
For a book featuring a menege a quatre (or however it's spelled), "158-Pound Marriage" did not come off as especially erotic or exciting to me. If your idea of eroticism is making love on a wrestling mat, then I guess you could call it erotic, but I didn't find it especially alluring. Of the four parties, Utch (the narrator's wife) is the only one close to sympathetic and is the one hurt the most by the failed four-way relationship, while the others come off as selfish, ironic jerks, especially the unnamed narrator.
Since the story begins at an almost arbitrary place, it was hard for me to figure out why these two couples decided to become involved. I would think something like that--considered so taboo in society--would require a lot of thought, but they just seem to launch into it with little care. I never understood why Irving gave the couples each two children, because the kids are invisible for most of the story and that grown-ups would do this sort of thing with children around (sometimes while the kids are sleeping in the same house) is reprehensible and serves to make the adults even less sympathetic than they already are.
The relationship begins almost arbitrarily and so too does it end almost arbitrarily. One day Severin and his wife simply decide to pull the plug and that's that. There was a little bit about how Severin and his wife were growing apart and all that, but it seems to me that once you've committed yourself to such a love quadrangle, there would have to be some sort of impetus to make you stop and go cold turkey. It's not like I have any experience with it, though, so what do I know? ;-)
Anyway, one thing I have really grown tired of since reading all of Irvng's novels is
Everyone who's read