I was actually disappointed in the book and I'm a long time John Irving fan, which isn't to say I've loved all of his books but the ones I've loved, I've REALLY loved.
This one endeared itself to me only in that it repeats a lot of familiar "John Irving Themes", so it's more of a nostalgic warm-fuzziness I feel toward it. There are bears, wrestling, New Hampshire, dogs, tattoos, a troublesome left hand ... and many more things John Irving readers are familiar with.
Every now and then, for me, it also seemed to step outside of fiction and seemed more autobiographical, especially when the book turned to the characters commenting on Canadian and American politics and recent major events. It seemed to me that Irving really wanted to put his personal views out there and was using the story to do it and yet, to me, those parts took on what I imagine to be his own voice instead of those of the characters. I don't know enough about John Irving personally to know if that might be true. It was more of a feeling. It just happened naturally when reading the book that commentary seemed to step outside the story.
It's not a book that I'll remember fondly except, perhaps, for the nostalgia.