Forrest Gump by Winston Groom (1986)

Forrest Gump by Winston Groom

                For years I had no idea that Forrest Gump was a novel. I just assumed that it was an amazing movie and left it at that. So imagine my surprise, when researching this year’s theme of reading a book from every year I have been alive, that this was indeed a book published in 1986. Sweet. Let the reading begin. Forrest Gump is the story of a man named Forrest Gump who honestly refers to himself as an idiot because of his low IQ score. He has struggled with the most basic things his entire life and yet he would eventually be a college football star, go to space, get arrested a few times, run a successful business and fall in love. It is more than a coming of age story. It’s a life story told in a simple way by a simple man.
                I went in to reading this novel knowing full well that I would have to separate it completely from the movie, which I know like the back of my hand. It was pretty simple to do. It’s very obvious from the beginning of this book that the creators of the movie took the basic premise of the book and created something totally different. This novel is more extravagant and darker than the movie. It is told in first person by Forrest and his lack of comprehension is unsettling. What I found more unsettling throughout the entire book was how he was treated by others. Almost every character in this novel tried to take advantage of Forrest in some way. It was such a telling and yet horrifying example of human nature that there were moments when I genuinely cringed.

                Forrest Gump got a solid 3 out of 5 stars for me. It was an easy quick read with well-developed characters but the story just went on and on…and on. It was amusing but tiring. I wanted more of a plot than what was presented. The only place where there was genuine growth was how Forrest saw his relationship with Jenny. That was a relationship that actually evolved and that he was able to process. Outside of that relationship there was no growth. This was simply an amusing rambling story. 


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