Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks
A New York Times bestselling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love—tormented, funny, and affecting—and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences.

"His most daringly political, sexually transgressive, and moving novel in well over a decade" (Vanity Fair).

Winner of a 2013 Lambda Literary Award

Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character of In One Person, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a "sexual suspect," a phrase first used by John Irving in 1978 in his landmark novel of "terminal cases," The World According to Garp.

In One Person is a poignant tribute to Billy’s friends and lovers—a theatrical cast of characters who defy category and convention. Not least, In One Person is an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself "worthwhile."

Topics: Bisexuality, Transgender, Sexuality, Sex, Vermont, Small Town, 1950s, Friendship, Coming of Age, Family, First Person Narration, LGBTQ, HIV/AIDS, Love, New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, Lust, Parenting, Male Author, American Author, Contemplative, Heartfelt, Realistic, and Social Change

Published: Simon & Schuster on May 8, 2012
ISBN: 9781451664157
List price: $11.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for In One Person: A Novel
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Clear rating

Some reviewers have complained that John Irving’s, In One Person, is too contrived, that there are too many gay, lesbian and bisexual people in his small town and private local school, and life itself, to render true. Yet when you count up the actual people in his small town and school who are “afflicted”, it only amounts to a handful of people and/or families. The school, being private, allows students from all over the US and world. Therefore, small town, or not, the school will have a diverse cast of characters. Additionally, people tend to surround themselves with like-minded people. For the protagonist, being bisexual, it is natural it will include those from both sexes. Since he is a bisexual, it is also natural that people are going to refer young adults to him to help them deal with and understand their conflicting feelings. Lastly, a writer will use poetic extremes to illustrate a point. I do not think this novel is a masterpiece, but it is well conceived and written. I enjoyed the novel and was sorry to see it end. The characters were interesting and diverse, the plot was well developed, the writing was exquisite and the ending was tooled by an author who has lived and gained wisdom over his lifetime, which was reflected in this novel. Thus, I gave it a rating of 4 stars; but, if an option, I would have given it 4.25. This is a novel worth reading. It will leave one thinking, often, about those who are “different” then the norm and the injustices they suffer. It will also leave you satisfied, having read a finely written novel.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A little long, a little predictable. The story was less complete. I think Mrs. Kitteridge was actually Mr. Kitteridge as a transgender. Good read. Not his best but not his worst.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
In One Person was a fully satisfying read that would have earned a 5-star review had it been by another author for whom I did not have such high expectations.From the first paragraph - concluding with the line, "We are formed by what we desire. In less than a minute of excited, secretive longing, I desired to become a writer and to have sex with miss Frost--not necessarily in that order." - I was pulled into this novel and the life of William Abbott and his extended family.But as much as the novel pulled me in, it built at a slower pace than I would have expected. The narrator continues to linger in Bill's teenage years at the Favorite River Academy long after I was ready to move on. These years are important to the story - and great reading - but much of what's to come is alluded to here, but is never as fully described as these early scenes.I still wanted to read more about the summer in Europe with poor Tom, and how that relationship ended. There's virtually nothing about William's early college years, before returning to Europe to study in Vienna. Another gap appears following the return from Vienna.Still, even with the long, perhaps uneven, build-up, by the time we get to 1981 and the start of the AIDS epidemic, Irving has us where he wants us. The reunions with poor Tom and "two cups" Delacorte are presented tenderly and to great effect.As Richard Abbott tells our narrator (page 311), "If you live long enough, Bill--it's a world of epilogues." It's a John Irving novel, so the epilogues include the deaths of many of the characters: by AIDS, but also suicides, a car wreck with a drunk driver, and even natural causes.There are reunions and survivors in these epilogues as well, including the elusive Franny Dean, and despite the dark topics of AIDS and fear inspired hatred, there's a chance for a hopeful ending; even in young Kitteridge's anger there's a desire to understand.Understanding and tolerance is what John Irving always asks of us through all his novels - to have some sympathy for those who live society's taboos. "We already are who we are, aren't we?"In the end, while this was a very good book, and I do recommend it to those who either love John Irving or are interested in the story, it falls somewhat short of such classics as The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany, or even the more recent Last Night in Twisted River.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read all reviews

Reviews

Some reviewers have complained that John Irving’s, In One Person, is too contrived, that there are too many gay, lesbian and bisexual people in his small town and private local school, and life itself, to render true. Yet when you count up the actual people in his small town and school who are “afflicted”, it only amounts to a handful of people and/or families. The school, being private, allows students from all over the US and world. Therefore, small town, or not, the school will have a diverse cast of characters. Additionally, people tend to surround themselves with like-minded people. For the protagonist, being bisexual, it is natural it will include those from both sexes. Since he is a bisexual, it is also natural that people are going to refer young adults to him to help them deal with and understand their conflicting feelings. Lastly, a writer will use poetic extremes to illustrate a point. I do not think this novel is a masterpiece, but it is well conceived and written. I enjoyed the novel and was sorry to see it end. The characters were interesting and diverse, the plot was well developed, the writing was exquisite and the ending was tooled by an author who has lived and gained wisdom over his lifetime, which was reflected in this novel. Thus, I gave it a rating of 4 stars; but, if an option, I would have given it 4.25. This is a novel worth reading. It will leave one thinking, often, about those who are “different” then the norm and the injustices they suffer. It will also leave you satisfied, having read a finely written novel.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A little long, a little predictable. The story was less complete. I think Mrs. Kitteridge was actually Mr. Kitteridge as a transgender. Good read. Not his best but not his worst.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
In One Person was a fully satisfying read that would have earned a 5-star review had it been by another author for whom I did not have such high expectations.From the first paragraph - concluding with the line, "We are formed by what we desire. In less than a minute of excited, secretive longing, I desired to become a writer and to have sex with miss Frost--not necessarily in that order." - I was pulled into this novel and the life of William Abbott and his extended family.But as much as the novel pulled me in, it built at a slower pace than I would have expected. The narrator continues to linger in Bill's teenage years at the Favorite River Academy long after I was ready to move on. These years are important to the story - and great reading - but much of what's to come is alluded to here, but is never as fully described as these early scenes.I still wanted to read more about the summer in Europe with poor Tom, and how that relationship ended. There's virtually nothing about William's early college years, before returning to Europe to study in Vienna. Another gap appears following the return from Vienna.Still, even with the long, perhaps uneven, build-up, by the time we get to 1981 and the start of the AIDS epidemic, Irving has us where he wants us. The reunions with poor Tom and "two cups" Delacorte are presented tenderly and to great effect.As Richard Abbott tells our narrator (page 311), "If you live long enough, Bill--it's a world of epilogues." It's a John Irving novel, so the epilogues include the deaths of many of the characters: by AIDS, but also suicides, a car wreck with a drunk driver, and even natural causes.There are reunions and survivors in these epilogues as well, including the elusive Franny Dean, and despite the dark topics of AIDS and fear inspired hatred, there's a chance for a hopeful ending; even in young Kitteridge's anger there's a desire to understand.Understanding and tolerance is what John Irving always asks of us through all his novels - to have some sympathy for those who live society's taboos. "We already are who we are, aren't we?"In the end, while this was a very good book, and I do recommend it to those who either love John Irving or are interested in the story, it falls somewhat short of such classics as The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany, or even the more recent Last Night in Twisted River.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Although many critics did not like Irving's previous 2 novels, I did. So when I read reviews that led me to believe that this book was superior to those, I was looking forward to this book. I was disappointed. Being the 10th novel I had read by Irving, I knew that I would enjoy it because it was Irving. Unfortunately, his use of quirky characters felt worn in this novel. The constant impact of minor characters on a person 50 years after they were in his life just gets old after a while. I just didn't get the sense of freshness in this novel. The description of the particulars of the aids epidemic seemed dated when written this long after the peak of the epidemic. I just never got a feel for what Bill(the main character) really felt. This is sometimes a problem in first person narratives. If you have read Irving before than you may like this, but if not then there are other books that he has written that are superior to this one.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is a fantastic book and was a delight to read from beginning to end, even when it went into stories of very difficult times I still remember too well. Funny and sensitive and courageous and just so masterfully written. It constantly made me want to know these characters, to have chats with them, to listen to more and more of their stories.While I think this may well be Irving at its most courageous and unapologetic, I can see how this would not be a good entry point to his work for people who haven't read him (or for any person without an open mind and open heart). However, for readers with even a little tolerance or human empathy, this will be an illuminating, masterful and wonderful tour into a world not many have ventured into. I totally loved it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
All of the classic Irving moves are satisfying: quirky family and townsfolk, beloved wrestling coach, dark but also nostalgia-filled prep school setting, just-short-of-traumatic sexual initiation, frequent interruptions in the characters' lives by the march of American history/culture, etc. But this is SUCH a project novel, and as a result, it begins to feel like Irving is only introducing new characters in order to have them break the sexual mold in some perfunctory way. Oh how I wish he would stick to childhood stories, where he remains unsurpassed.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Load more
scribd