April 28, 1986 12:00 PM

by Winston Groom

The hero of this rollicking, bawdy novel is a self-styled idiot. His mother and the school authorities agree that he is an idiot, but he is big, and when he becomes high school age, a football coach wants him. Forrest bumbles through life, always in love with Jenny, who was nice to him in first grade. Still he proves himself adept at not getting killed in the Army in Vietnam and, finally, at starting up a shrimp-growing business that makes him a millionaire. Then people want him to run for the U.S. Senate. ” ‘You’re an absolute natural,’ this one feller say. He is wearing a sear-sucker suit an smokin a big cigar. ‘A former star football player for Bear Bryant, a war hero, a famous astronaut and the confidant of Presidents—what more can you ask?!’…’Look,’ I tell him, ‘I am just a idiot. I don’t know nothin bout politics.’ ” Forrest also has a career in Hollywood where he shares an adventure with a bare Raquel Welch. Groom, author of Better Times Than These and As Summers Die, is poking fun at everything. The scatological humor is strained, and the curious spelling is tiresome, but most of the targets deserve what they get, and Groom clearly just wants readers to have a good time. (Doubleday, $14.95)

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