“The Fourth Hand” by John Irving
I’ll always hold John Irving to a high standard as a writer. After all, this is the man who gave the world “A Prayer for Owen Meany,” a book my husband and I love so much we both gave it out during World Book Night this year. [FYI — Our beloved “Owen Meany” was also made into a movie called “Simon Birch.” Which we just pretend didn’t happen.]
So the talented Mr. Irving wrote a book called “The Fourth Hand,” and from the synopsis of the book, it looked interesting, so we bought it and it’s been on our bookcase waiting to be read ever since.
And, mid-packing and moving, I finally read the book.
And it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.
And that’s okay.
The jacket and quotes for “The Fourth Hand” lead one to believe it’s going to be a hilarious read about a handsome journalist who loses a hand in a lion attack, then gets a new one, though the new hand comes with a caveat — the widow of the hand donor wants visitation with the hand. Wocka, wocka! Laughs ensue!
Yeah, that’s not really the book. I mean, it really is about a handsome journalist who loses a hand in a lion attack, then gets a new one, and the hand does come with the widow and her caveat… but that’s hardly the whole book. In actuality, Patrick (our handsome journalist,) is kind of a womanizing schmuck before the incident that brands him “the lion guy.” After his transplant, he starts to realize what a waste of space he is, falls in love, and gains a soul. It’s really a tale of a dude’s redemption, triggered by (by not dependent on) a missing hand.
Whether it was as promised by the jacket or not, “The Fourth Hand” is a very solid read by an author worth everyone’s time.