These are reviews originally posted to Amazon as customer reviews. They're intended for entertainment and informational purposes only. (Apologies for any typos, bad grammar, or offensive language.) This isn't sponsored by Amazon or represent them in any way, although they do have a very nice site and I recommend checking it out for your next book purchase. Feel free to comment on the books if you've read them or tell me how much my reviews suck or whatever.
That is all.

Friday, December 8, 2006

The Hotel New Hampshire

The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

June 18, 2003

What I can tell you after reading 8 Irving novels, is that some are really good (Cider House Rules, World According to Garp), others are pretty bad (Prayer for Owen Meany, Fourth Hand), and still others are in between (Widow for One Year, Son of the Circus). Hotel New Hampshire I have to put in the third category of in between books.

The best thing about the book is the cast of quirky characters essential to any Irving novel. The Berry family is a loving, oddball family of different personalities, which sometimes conflict, but for the most part work together in a sort of harmony as they grow up. The story follows their misadventures through three variations of the Hotel New Hampshire, one in the rundown town of Dairy, New Hampshire, one in Vienna, and the final one along the ocean in Maine.

Like any Irving novel, you can see elements in past and future books. The way I think of it, Irving's books are all one house and for each novel, the author moves around the furniture a little bit so while it's the same house, it LOOKS slightly different to us readers. After eight novels, I'm used to the references to wrestling, prep schools, Vienna, and bears, though like anyone, I wish Irving would try to move beyond these elements sometimes.

The main weakness of the book is the same as in Owen Meany, although not as pronounced. John the narrator is really a dull guy, who pretty much sits back and has things happen to him as opposed to going out and doing anything. As he says, he's the caretaker of the family, which also means he's not very interesting. However, he's not like John the narrator of the Owen Meany who's completely unlikeable.

So, in closing, this is an enjoyable read and I recommend anyone who's liked some of Irving's other books take a look at this one. If you haven't read any other Irving novels, then I'd say to start with Cider House Rules and World According to Garp, then move on to Son of the Circus, Hotel New Hampshire, Widow for One Year, and Setting Free the Bears. Then at your own risk, try out Owen Meany and the Fourth Hand.

And that, as Forrest Gump would say, is all I gotta say about that.

No comments: