Study Guide

The One and Only Ivan Writing Style

By Katherine Applegate

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Writing Style

An Ape With a Blog

Though Ivan can't really write, this book still reads like his personal blog, journal, or diary. To this end, it's pretty conversational and simple, with bits about his life presented in little vignettes. Ivan definitely has a way with words and appreciates their power, but the book still reads more like notes being passed between friends than, say, a formal novel. For instance, check out the first chapter:

I am Ivan. I am a gorilla.

It's not as easy as it looks. (hello.1-2)

It's like a sparse "About" page on a blog, right? Just the facts, but importantly, the facts are personal. To this end, Ivan is in control of the narrative—just like the writer of a personal blog is—revealing what he wants to reveal as it suits his fancy. This means we get his back story when he wants to share it (instead of in chronological order), and that he focuses on other characters are suits his fancy, too, like a blogger who chooses to profile one of their friends from time to time.

The only thing not blog-like about this book is that we can't leave comments. Which is too bad for Ivan, because we're pretty sure people would say some pretty nice things to this hulking wordsmith.

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