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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only for Irving fans
If you love Irving, you will want to read this eclectic collection of essays, bits of biography and short stories. If you don't know and love Irving, you will wonder what it's all about. Personally, I am a huge fan; I've read all of his novels and so this was a welcome insight into the life of one of America's treasures. The first chapter on how he became a story...
Published on November 3, 2000 by Nicole Flowers

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars John Irving's Garage Sale
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...
Published on July 5, 2003 by BJ Fraser


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only for Irving fans, November 3, 2000
By 
This review is from: Trying to Save Piggy Sneed (Paperback)
If you love Irving, you will want to read this eclectic collection of essays, bits of biography and short stories. If you don't know and love Irving, you will wonder what it's all about. Personally, I am a huge fan; I've read all of his novels and so this was a welcome insight into the life of one of America's treasures. The first chapter on how he became a story teller is vintage John. On another note, he definitely loves wrestling, and you are faced to read tedious round by round accounts of important matches in his life, but that's okay, because now I know where he got a lot of the foundations for Garp.
A few things stood out in this book that elevated John Irving to the status of one classy guy: his love and devotion to his sons, and he never has one bad thing to say about his ex-wife, the mother of his children. In fact he thanks her for her diligence in photographing the boys growing up and some of her shots are found in the center of the book.
Of the multitude of areas in this book, I enjoyed most a short story entitled "Interior Space" inwhich an Austrian man (who else?) laments over the sale of his house and the tree thereon. "You will not the tree down-chop." Irving truly is the master at replicating the juxtaposition of words in the dialogue of native German speakers speaking English.
As fans know, the wait between Irving's novels is unbearably long, and Piggy Snead makes for an entertaining interlude.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars John Irving's Garage Sale, July 5, 2003
This review is from: Trying to Save Piggy Sneed (Paperback)
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Writer's Memoir, January 27, 2004
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This review is from: Trying to Save Piggy Sneed (Paperback)
I love John Irving. When I first read Garp 25 years ago it knocked me out. Mr. Irving was truly an original voice. In "Piggy Sneed" he has given us a memoir, some short stories and essays. The memoir, "The Imaginary Girlfriend", is the best piece in the book. I enjoyed the fusion of his wrestling career and his writing career. I enjoyed the short stories and his attempt to share with us his some of the craft of writing. The homage to Dickens was enlightening and inspiring. I found the final piece of the collection (the one on Gunter Grass) the most difficult to read (perhaps because I haven't read any of his work but the piece has not inspired me). All in all if you love John Irving, you will find this book an excellent companion.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For John Irving Fans, March 2, 2012
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This is an interesting memoir and it is entertaining as well. Although he always insists that his fiction is purely fiction and not autobiographical- his life sure does shine through in most of his novels!
He does tend to go on a bit too much about wrestling- great for wrestling fans but a tad tedious to the rest of us. But it was interesting to hear about the rest of his life and the influences of other people and authors in particular. I was surprised to learn of his connection with one of my other favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut.
My opinion of John Irving is enhanced by his memoirs- he has a subtle sense of humor and is amazingly enough, still quite humble and and able to make fun of himself.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little of this, a bit of that, August 1, 1999
This review is from: Trying to Save Piggy Sneed (Paperback)
I've read all of John Irving's novels, but somehow let this book get by. Having just finished it (soon after reading A Widow For One Year), I have mixed feelings. I would love to read Irving's memoirs, but I'm more interested in his family life than all that wrestling business. One can't help imagine that there is a lot of John Irving in T.S. Garp and Johnny Wheelwright and John Berry, but Irving does not reveal this. The short stories and his comments on them are well worth it, though. When he calls one story amateurish to the point of embarrassment, I can't help but think "I only wish I could write one story as well as Irving's worst." For fans of the Irving mystique it's a must read, but for others I'd say go straight to The Pension Grillparzer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unusual compilation of work . . ., September 3, 1998
By A Customer
Being an Irving fan, I knew I would be in for some engaging writing. While a few of these pieces really stood out, others were a disappointment. "Imaginary Girlfriend" was autobiographical with lots of good wrestling reminiscing, but a bit self absorbed.
Others were just not engaging, such as the tributes at the end of the book. "Piggy Sneed" & "Pension Grillparzer" are classic Irving . . . there are a few here that really make this worth the purchase
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Irving as his best., February 8, 2002
By 
Adriana Villanueva (Caracas, Miranda Venezuela) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Trying to Save Piggy Sneed (Paperback)
John Irving was bedriden when he wrote this book, and it shows it. He wasnt feeling well enough for writing a novel, but he was kind of bored so he wrote this exercise of a memoir.
When he talks about his life as a writer, about his childhood, about Piggy Sneed, about his children, its Irving as his best, but the wrestling part its so boring that you have to be masochist no to find yourself skipping pages.
The shorts stories are a sure proof why Irving likes to write novels, he's not a short story teller, its well known that he believes that there its nothing worth saying in 30 pages that wouldnt be better said in 300. But I enjoyed his essays, specially his pasion for Dickens.
Not Irving as his best, but worth a look
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Irving's first - and only - book of stories, September 25, 2004
By 
This is a fine collection of short stories, the only problem being that most people don't like short stories.

This is a particular problem for Irving since readers associate him with huge, emotional roller-coaster novels such as A Prayer for Owen Meany or The World According to Garp.

Also the selection here is a little odd: a mixture of the kind of fiction you might find in The New Yorker plus some non-fiction: autobiographical essays of childhood plus an introduction to a Dickens novel. Since I always thought Irving was more of a Hardy fan, I found this a little bemusing.

Overall, fans of Irving's longer work will tend to a little disappointed with this outing, though this is perhaps no fault of the author.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars He had some overdue bills to pay. . . at my expense, November 27, 1998
Piggy Sneed was a terrible letdown for this old Irving fan. It is a rambling, terribly self-indulgent hodge-podge of previously published short works and reviews interspersed with biographical and retrospective bits and pieces--including the obligatory pics of the kids! I've enjoyed everything Irving has written previously. Both Garp and Cider House Rules would be on my Best 100 list of Western literature. So, I did not hesitate to pick up this little Piggy without vetting it first.
Well, next time, I'll be more cautious with Mr. Irving. John, this is the kind of stuff your estate could let out after you are dead, like the newly found Beatles studio tapes. For someone looking for personal anecdotes and some insight into your life, it could even be helpful. But, I wasn't looking for stuff for a book report. I was looking for a good read.
Congrats on having your publisher in your back pocket; and John, now that those overdue bills are out of the way, how about writing something nice for us, huh? A little grist for the mill, perhaps. That last bit of chaff did not grind well at all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The measure of a good writer, April 12, 2000
This review is from: Trying to Save Piggy Sneed (Paperback)
After reading the autobiographical section of this book, i wanted to learn more about wrestling. WRESTLING! Why would i want that? Well, John Irving did a supert job piquing my curiousity. It takes some skill to make the reader interested in something that they had not ever considered.
The part where John Irving talks about his sons made me admire him so much. He truly loves his children and has such a beautiful way to express it. This autobiography is my favorite part of the book.
The short stories are OK, but they can't match the quality of the autobiography. After reading it, i can understand Garp and Cider House Rules so much better. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know John Irving.
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Trying to Save Piggy Sneed
Trying to Save Piggy Sneed by John Irving (Paperback - February 11, 1997)
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