The 158-Pound Marriage by John Irving
(Ballantine Books, 1974, 245 pages)
I should preface this post by saying that I LOVE John Irving, so I might display a slight bias 🙂
The 158-Pound Marriage revolves around a co-mingling of couples – a unique foursome that comes together in a small, New England, university town. As one might imagine in a situation that involves casually swapping spouses, there’s a lot of room for things like jealousy, confusion and hurt feelings. The book takes you through the lives of each of these characters, both as individuals and as couples, and shows you just how intense and consequential relationships can be.
This was definitely a unique novel in the subject matter it addressed. With Irving you can never anticipate what’s going to happen, and that’s certainly true here. While this wasn’t one of my top Irving titles, I did enjoy reading it and had a hard time putting it down. If you’re new to Irving I’d highly recommend A Prayer for Owen Meany and/or The World According to Garp to get you started – you might find yourself quickly becoming an Irving convert…