The main theme of "A Widow for One Year" by John Irving is (in my opinion) is family and how it can influence your decisions later on in life. Depending on how your raised, who does the raising we tend to make different choices. Whether it's trying to prove to your father that you are better than him or purposefully not living up to your parents' expectations.
For me this book was a little slow to get started, but after Ruth grows up is when I really got hooked in. Though to be fair I was reading this only at night for the first 100 or so pages, that may very well have contributed to the delay in getting into the book. I was impressed by all of the twists that one characters' life can take and still be believable. I read the last 150 pages in only a few days. I had to know what happened next for Ruth, Eddie and Harry. The ending is perfect.
Interview with the author.
From the Publisher:
"Ruth Cole is a complex, often self-contradictory character--a "difficult" woman. By no means is she conventionally "nice," but she will never be forgotten.
Ruth's story is told in three parts, each focusing on a crucial time in her life. When we first meet her--on Long Island, in the summer of 1958--Ruth is only four.
The second window into Ruth's life opens in the fall of 1990, when Ruth is an unmarried woman whose personal life is not nearly as successful as her literary career. She distrusts her judgment in men, for good reason.
A Widow for One Year closes in the autumn of 1995, when Ruth Cole is a forty-one-year-old widow and mother. She's about to fall in love for the first time.
Richly comic, as well as deeply disturbing A Widow for One Year is a multi-layered love story of astonishing emotional force. Both ribald and erotic, it is also a brilliant novel about the passage of time and the relentlessness of grief."