cover image Gumpisms: The Wit and Wisdom of Forrest Gump

Gumpisms: The Wit and Wisdom of Forrest Gump

Winston Groom. Pocket Books, $5 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-671-51763-2

What happens when a literary writer produces a book that becomes a mass-market smash as a movie, and then feels compelled to write a sequel? In this case, he writes a picaresque saga that will dismay those who know Groom is capable of better stuff. This book opens on a down-and-out, disillusioned Gump, his ``srimp'' business ``ruint'' and his mama dead. Soon Jenny, his lifelong love, dies too-only to reappear as an advice-giving spirit when Gump needs her most. Gump begins a search for a job with which to support little Forrest, who is seven when the book begins (though Gump says 10 years have passed) and already savvier than his ``idiot'' father. Gump embarks on a series of farcical adventures that always culminate either with him fleeing an angry mob or ``thowed'' in jail. Along the way, he tries to find a new formula to save the ``CokeCola'' company; works for a pig farmer; sells bogus encyclopedias; and gets involved with Oliver North, who uses him in the arms-for-hostage negotiations with Iran. He meets a dotty President Reagan, a venal Rev. Jim Bakker and a financier named Ivan Bozosky. Gump encounters Tom Hanks and others at Elaine's restaurant; provokes the destruction of the Berlin Wall; captures Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War, only to be directed by General ``Scheisskopf'' to let him loose. Coincidences and pratfalls occur at a dizzying rate. Constantly ``shoveling shit'' as fast as he can, Gump learns ``don't never let nobody make a movie of your life's story.'' He gets that one right. Film rights to Paramount; audio rights to Simon & Schuster audio; British, translation, first serial rights: Raines and Raines; author tour. (Aug.)