I did not finish John Irving’s In One Person. After reading A Prayer for Owen Meanie, I wanted to love every other word he wrote, from his shopping list to his novels, but the main character’s sex life became far too explicit for me to enjoy reading about.
The story starts with Billy, the bi-sexual main character, as a child, falling in love with various people. Billy’s step-father gave him lovely advice, which was to enjoy his crushes and not to worry about the appropriateness of who they might be on. Billy’s first crush was on the town librarian, Miss Frost, who might have been trans-gender – I expect this query was answered later in the book. His next crush was on a boy at school, Jacques Kittredge. Billy’s best friend and pseudo-girlfriend Elaine is also crazy about Kittredge, despite Kittredge being a nasty bully.
The story then jumped to Billy as an adult, and while I had been enjoying the story up until then and liked Billy’s character very much, there were too many explicit details about his sex life for me to feel comfortable continuing.*
Billy’s family are theatrical and are a funny and interesting bunch of characters, although I did notice similarities between some of them and the characters in A Prayer for Owen Meanie. Billy’s grandfather, who played most of the female roles in local plays was a terrific character, and I would have liked to know how things worked out for him.
I’ll try another John Irving book instead, hopefully one which doesn’t offend my delicate sensibilities.
*I don’t care who does what with who (or should that be whom?), but I don’t like to know the details…