I read the book in a 29 hour time period, after it sat on my bookshelf from the library for 9 weeks, until the day before I ABSOLUTELY had to return it. Then I read it. Thank god for vacation, for Starbucks, and for the Central Square Library, which is open late on Thursdays. It was, of course, no hardship, given that Irving is a gripping writer who draws in his reader with page-turning prose. And though few of us can really identify with the absurd characters who reside in the book, nor imagine realistically the absurd events that transpire between its pages, "The World According to Garp" nonetheless rocked. (I of course describe books with only the most exacting literary terms.)
I watched the movie today, and though I always love Robin Williams, John Lithgow and Glenn Close, it didn't have the page-turniness (again a literary term) of the book. The only real benefit of the movie was that it left out the gratuitous bed-hopping charachteristic of the book. I always tend to think that books have too much sex, but "The World According to Garp" has too much everything - too much sex, too much death, too much disaster, too much packed into too little times. It's like John Irving is telling ordinary people that that's what you get for being extraordinary: Lightning strikes: again, and again, and again.
Anyhow, book and movie: both worth the time.