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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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The Water-Method Man (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Paperback – June 23, 1997

3.7 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Brutal reality and hallucination, comedy and pathos. A rich, unified tapestry" Time "John Irving, it is abundantly clear, is a true artist. He is not afraid to take on great themes" Los Angeles Times "John Irving has been compared with Kurt Vonnegut and J. D. Salinger, but is arguably more inventive than either" The Times "Three or four times as funny as most novels" The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Ballantine Reader's Circle
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 23, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034541800X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345418005
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #764,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 15, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the first Irving novel I read--almost 10 years ago, at the age of 16--and as much as I love Garp, Owen Meany, and other Irving novels I have since read, Water-Method Man continues to be my favorite. First, few books make me laugh out loud. This is one of them. It's also one of the three books I don't go anywhere without. More importantly, it's a book about growing up (whether you want to or not), about taking responsibility for your past mistakes, and about having the courage to get at the root of your problems so that you can stumble, however blindly, toward what the future might bring you. The writing is brilliant. It is true that the chapters go back and forth in time; however, this is done to underscore the fact that Bogus Trumper is about to repeat some of his most disastrous mistakes. And if the chapters detailing Merrill's attempt to teach Bogus to ski and Bogus's "duck-hunting" escapade can't make you laugh, nothing can. Definitely a book for the reader who wants to think--and laugh. Enjoy!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
My sister so loved the hero of this novel, Bogus Trumper, that she named her cat after him. And while I'm not a fan of the cat, I do love this novel. No other book has made me laugh so hard. One scene in particular had me gasping for breath (I won't ruin it by describing it-- suffice it to say that it involves a prophylactic and attempted infidelity and that you will know it when you come to it).
The Water-Method Man is far from perfect; I don't suppose it will hold up as well as The World According to Garp. But some books you love despite all their flaws and limitations. God knows John Irving made me very happy for a while.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love to read but I'm not an intellectual, so my review will be brief.

I read this book in college (1984) and have kept it over the years, re-reading it whenever the urge for a little "Bogus" appears. I laughed so hard in my dorm room that my friend (a non-fiction-reading geology major) asked to borrow the book when I was through. Twenty years later, we still reference parts of the book when we're together.

Though I'm not a huge movie buff, I've always wondered why this didn't get made into a motion picture. Of course, John Cusack is too old now to play Bogus, but I've always thought he had a kind of vacancy in his face that would be perfect for the role; he also has the charm, which Bogus obviously must have to attract the women he does.

John Irving writes about flawed men in a way that makes me think he was once a woman, or (surprise) he's a man who's very in touch with his own weaknesses. Being a woman, I appreciate the honesty (and the humor).
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Format: Paperback
To emulate a memorable character from a novel written by one of John Irving's favorite authors..."Does one 'sniff' a hint of Robertson Davies's multilayering of plot? Perhaps a bit of Buechner's comedic wit? I believe so."
Now, with that said, I'll just come out and say what I feel--"The Water-Method Man" is an often grotesque, but consistently hilarious book. Rarely do I laugh audibly while reading a novel. I did so a lot while reading "The Water-Method Man."
In "The Water-Method Man" (his second novel) Irving made a gigantic leap in plot complexity from his first novel, "Setting Free the Bears" (also a favorite of mine). "Bears" had largely a tripartite soul as far as its plot went--nice and neat. "The Water-Method Man" is a masterpiece of nonlinear, multi-plotline story telling.
Again, more than anything, this book is FUNNY (yep...all caps funny). Even the chapter headings are humorous. A few examples: "Prelude to the Last Stand"; "One Long Mother of a Day"; Slouching Towards Overturf" "Another Dante, A Different Hell."
The characters of "The Water-Method Man" really do come to life. Biggie, Couth, Dante, Arnold Mulcahy and Tulpen will all stick in the reader's mind for a long time to come.
The Trumper--Thump-Thump--Fred--Bogus character is hard not to like even at his most despicable. This could almost be a parable about the kind of trouble we humans seem to get into without fail when we have no real help outside of ourselves.
The character of Merrill Overturf is sure to strike a cord with anyone who has ever been a little "off" in their formative years.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It would seem that John Irving has always been a self-assured author. His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, is a very unlikely "first" work. It is a very complex work, with a narrative that interweaves the Austrian Anschluss, Balkan partisan politics, war, love, "Easy Rider" romanticism and the freeing of the animals from Vienna's Hietzinger Zoo. Hardly the stuff expected from a "new" writer. And although Irving was quite successful in handling the complexities of his narrative, the novel suffered because of weak character development. The characters of this first novel never came to life; in fact, it was all too easy to confuse the various characters because they resembled one another so much. In this novel, Irving took the narrative lessons learned from his first novel and set about to create a more complete work, one in which the readers would remember the characters as much as the masterful narrative techniques. With Fred "Bogus" Trumper, Irving succeeded in creating the first of the unforgettable characters who would populate all his later novels.
The novel involves the life of one Bogus Trumper as he sets about trying to make a life for himself amidst uncontrollable chaos, disappointment, and the pain and agony caused by an abnormally narrow urethra. While his narrow urethra can be attributed to genetics, the other hurdles that he confronts are more or less of his own making which gives Irving license to hone his ironic and satirical gifts. Generally inept in his dealings with his family, friends and life's other complexities, Bogus has a gift for languages and uses this gift to extend his studenthood into the labryrinth of graduate school.
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