Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon is a novel of approximately 800 pages in length and divided into four main parts or ‘acts’. To actually try to explain what this book is really about and ‘review’ it is impossible and would most certainly ruin the fun that waits (and you would probably get bored and stop reading this). So, this is more of a brief review of the experience of reading said book. What I will say is that it involves World War II and a magic penis, and hopefully that will spark some Freudian interest or at least a Google search. I will also explain that this book is widely considered one of the most challenging literary reads because of the sheer number of different characters and story arcs. It’s a bitch. I embarked on this journey one warm day in the early spring of 2015 that led me through harrowing heights, treacherous lows, and some extremely bizarre sexual encounters. I truly experienced the sensation of being lost (sometimes hoeplessly), a wanderer perpetually looking for some kind of assistance. After I turned that last page and read through that last paragraph months later, I could only think one thing, “What the fuck did I just read?”
Now, despite what the title of this ‘review’ and the last few dramatic sentences may suggest, I do in fact love this novel and do not regret my actions in taking part in the 5-6 month process it took to read this as a group project with those scumbags Phil Griffin and Daniel Nichols. I was definitely naïve and a little over confident in my reading ability and comprehension. Pynchon’s grasp and manipulation of language is like few others I’ve ever read. His humor is sick and twisted, and it crosses a lot of boundaries that I didn’t even know existed. I could not contain myself from laughing out loud that resulted in a variety of awkward situations. And, even though it's a completely fictional story, he does base it all around real historical dates and places during World War II. The experience for me was fun because of the challenge this type of writing presented. We were really big scumbags and used a guide Daniel bought online to follow along (I highly suggest this). It gave a part-by-part breakdown of all the main events and the significance in relation to the story and historical events happening at the time period of the novel. Super helpful (I actually want to tell everyone to not read this book unless you have this guide. Don't kid yourself. You're not as great as you think. I wasn't. Don't be a fool. Super easy to Google and find which one I'm talking about ya lazy asses). We coupled this with discussion meetings that we set after certain benchmarks in the book. This was also super helpful as a way to bounce ideas off each other about what the fuck was going on and if life even mattered anymore. I spent multiple hour blocks each time I read because I found it was the only way to make any progress. A few intoxicating substances to go along with these reading sessions was also a preferred method to help trudge through (seriously, it was sometimes better just to laugh at the nonsense than to try to make sense of it).
We lost a couple of others not named along the way (Alex Nord, Kevin Johnson), but Phil, Daniel, and I made it through that son of bitch—Oh, wait......Phil’s bitch ass never finished it either! He was a little cry baby and couldn’t make it through the fourth part. Wah Wah Wah. So let me revise that: Daniel and I made it through to the bitter end and now we are better men because of it. So, that concludes my review of reading Gravity’s Rainbow.