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Friday, December 8, 2006

Trying to Save Piggy Sneed

Trying to Save Piggy Sneed by John Irving

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:

July 5, 2003

Take "Trying to Save Piggy Sneed" for what it is, a mismatched collection of "memoirs", short stories, and "homages" to Charles Dickens and Gunter Grass. Unless you like to read about wrestling, the memoirs provide very little true insight into Irving. Do not waste your time buying "The Imaginary Girlfriend" as that comes from this book and is mostly dedicated to Irving's lackluster wrestling career. I think I learned more about Irving in the notes after the short stories than I did by reading the memoirs.

The short stories range in quality. "Weary Kingdom" was Irving's first published work and is a long, dull story (not even the author really likes it). "Interior Space" is my favorite, but even it is not as good as some of Irving's novels.

The homages to Dickens and Grass are somewhat interesting. I decided to give "Great Expectations" a try since Irving said that's the book that really made him want to write. I doubt it will have the same effect on me.

The biggest flaw in my opinion was that the publisher put the notes AFTER the various pieces of writing. I always read those first just to get the background of the story before I read it. For example, it helped me tolerate "Weary Kingdom" when I saw that it was really Irving's first piece of published writing.

At any rate, I recommend skipping this garage sale and sticking with Irving's novels. If you read this in the hope of understanding the author better, you will be disappointed as I was.

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