Life Among Giants is one of the books I had on lists to read, then took it off, then put it back. Finally I put it on my hold list at the library. I knew it was time to read an adult book and take a break from YA. I need to do this from time to time to engage my brain a bit more and get away from the angst. Though to be fair, adult fiction has its fair share of angst.
Life Among Giants reminds me of some of the John Irving I have read. Those of you who have read my reviews before will know that generally I love Irving's work. This similarity is therefore positive to my mind. I do not mean to say that Roorbach is an imitator. There were just some atmospheric and tonal things that made me think of Irving. The plot was not similar to any of Irving's work.
In Life Among Giants, Lizard, or David tells his own story. His story really begins with the murder of his parents when he is 17, just about 18. He tells his life before this incidentally, sharing only relevant memories. Afterwards he covers his life in detail, but even 20 years later much of what he is is related to the loss of his parents. In a minor way, the book is a mystery with David and his sister Kate trying to discover exactly who murdered their parents and why. At times through the years, Kate is obsessed with the crime. She spends time in a mental institution trying to deal with her intense paranoiac beliefs about what happened. David on the other hand lives a quiet life as a football player for the Miami Dolphins then as a restaurateur. Always in the background of the siblings' story, are Sylphide, a ballerina who lives in the mansion that backs up to David and Kate's modest family home and Dabney, the ballerina's rock start husband who died not long before David and Kate's parents. How all of these people and events are tied together if at all is the central conflict of the story.
Just as much of YA literature deals with the central character's place in the world, this adult story revolves around adults having to confront who they have become and how on earth they ended up this way.