The 158-Pound Marriage by John Irving – A Book Review

This is the second book I’ve read by Irving, and I have to admit he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

The book is about two married couples who meet well after they’ve each established a family and mode of life.  Though neither couple seemingly would have considered such a thing before, they begin to swap partners without secrecy.  It becomes a normal occurrence for them, and they even go so far as to vacation together.

One of the characters is a wrestling aficionado (not an uncommon occurrence in Irving’s writing) and thus you get the title and all sorts of easily accessible wrestling lingo.  In fact, he dedicates a chapter to each character in the beginning of the book, establishing background, and he literally divides them by weight class. 

Of course, such things as spouse swapping are bound to fall apart, and the reader experiences the full implosion as both couples must deal with their “break-up” and the new dynamic it introduces both into their own marriages and with each other as “friends.”

Though the story was a bit more sexually graphic than I’m accustomed to reading, Irving’s style captivates me.  He is truly a master at craft, plot, and characterization.  And best of all, his stories burrow into your being and you can’t help but become enthralled with his character’s lives.

I look forward to reading more of Irving’s work.