Book Review Interview

Queer Books, Queer Readers: Kelly Slaven Recommends John Irving

Kelly Slaven Queer Books Queer Readers

Hi there, my name is Kelly Slaven and my pronouns are she/her/hers.

What queer book have you chosen to share with our readers today?

OK, I know that I am beginning the interview by breaking the rules. I LOVE John Irving. I love him so very much that I will always read anything he writes and I love the detail and mundane that he provides in his writing. So, here’s the deal, I suggest ALL of his books. In In One Person, Billy is the bisexual narrator and the heroines of the novel are two transgender women, in The Cider House Rules, Dr. Larch is reported to only have had sex one time, and Johnny Wheelwright, who is the “nonpracticing homosexual” narrator of A Prayer for Owen Meany, never has sex. There are transgender characters in The World According to Garp and A Son of the Circus, and gay characters in The Hotel New Hampshire and Son of the Circus.

Why is this book one of your favorites?

I trust John Irving to show me every detail of the story, especially the day to day ones, so that I believe him. Life is not always exciting so his mundane details are what make his writing real to me.

How would you describe yourself as a reader?

The opposite of who I am in life. In life, I don’t want all of the details, just the big picture and tell me in one sentence, not 20. But, in a book, when I slow down, I want to know it all! The more words the better.

As a queer person, have books helped you explore or express your queer identity?

I think that any representation helps me in this way. The author, Glennon Doyle, has helped me realize myself and all of my details (being queer, being female, etc) more than anyone else because she says what everyone is thinking and allows space to explore it without shame.

Other than reading, are there any queer nerdy recommendations that you would like to leave with our readers?

I love the podcast We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach.

Thank you, Kelly!

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