In One Person 

John Irving, read by John Benjamin Hickey. Simon & Schuster Audio, unabridged, 15 CDs, 16.25 hrs., $49.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-4915-5
John Benjamin Hickey more than does justice to Irving’s simple but effective prose in this unusual coming-of-age novel that sensitively explores sexual identity and orientation. Hickey gets this audio edition off to a good start with his reading of passages in which bisexual protagonist Billy Dean admits to having trouble pronouncing certain words such as library and penis—which Dean can only vocalize as “penith”—a fact that genuinely causes him anguish, especially as puberty kicks in and he develops a crush on the librarian of his small Vermont town. Portraying an older character with a speech impediment looking back on his life could trip up many a talented narrator, but Hickey doesn’t miss a beat. One of the many high points is his depiction of Dean’s grandfather, a humorous female impersonator with an acid view of the town’s teenage acting talent in a local production of Ibsen. Irving fans will be delighted. A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (May)
Reviewed on: 07/30/2012
Release date: 05/01/2012
Ebook - 448 pages - 978-1-4516-6415-7
Hardcover - 448 pages - 978-0-307-36178-3
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