10 Signs You Might Be In A John Irving Novel

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Sarah Knight

Staff Writer

Sarah lives in Brooklyn (when it's warm in New York) and the Dominican Republic (when it's not). She is a native Mainer, Red Sox fan, Harvard graduate, and Cards Against Humanity enthusiast, as well as a freelance editor and writer. Her book, THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF NOT GIVING A F*CK, is a national and international bestseller. Learn more at Follow her on Twitter @MCSnugz.

I’m just going to put this out there: John Irving is a total boss. Not every novel is a home run, but as a body of work, he’s definitely batting, like, .750 lifetime. That’s way beyond Hall of Fame level. So I just want to be clear that I am not judging him harshly for, shall we say, his tendency to repeat himself. I actually find it kind of soothing.


And it is precisely because I love John Irving’s books and have read them all, that I am qualified to discern whether you, dear reader, might be in a John Irving novel. Here are ten signs:

  1. Your name is John*
  2. You live in New England or Canada
  3. You attend an all-boys boarding school
  4. You are on the wrestling team
  5. You have daddy issues
  6. You are a writer
  7. You have been seduced by an older woman
  8. You are missing a body part
  9. You are traveling in Austria
  10. You are a bear


*Irving’s new novel, Avenue of Mysteries, publishes on November 3, 2015. The main character is named Juan.