A Prayer for Owen Meany Kindle º Prayer for Owen

A Prayer for Owen Meany [PDF / Epub] ☉ A Prayer for Owen Meany Author John Irving – Liversite.co.uk Eleven year old Owen Meany playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend New Hampshire hits a foul ball and kills his best friend's mother Owen doesn't believe in accidents; he believes he is for Owen PDF/EPUB ✓ Eleven year old Owen Meany playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend New Hampshire hits a foul ball and kills his best friend's mother Owen doesn't believe in A Prayer PDF or accidents; he believes he is God's instrument What happens to Owen after that foul is both extraordinary and terrifying At moments a comic self deluded victim but in the end Prayer for Owen PDF/EPUB ✓ the principal tragic actor in a divine plan Owen Meany is the most heartbreaking hero John Irving has yet created.

10 thoughts on “A Prayer for Owen Meany

  1. Nick G Nick G says:

    I'm short on time for this review but man this is the closest thing to a perfect story as anything I've ever readI'm back a few days later to edit my review because I can't stop thinking about this book It might be my favorite I might be in love with this story As the first sentence of the story starts out I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice well I am tooSPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON IN THE REVEIWI think I fell in love with book as I read one specific sentence It's at the end of the story when Owen and Johnny are in the temporary bathroom with the children and his dream is starting to unfold I thought I had it all figured out the lunatic kid has the grenade and he's going to try and blow them up But then I read the sentence when Owen looks to Johnny and says something along the lines of WE'LL HAVE ABOUT FOUR SECONDS Maybe I was a little slow to catch on but it was right then that I realized the reason they had always practiced the shot It blindsighted me and I loved it Irving had made their routine practice of the shot so commonplace in their time together that I forgot about even asking what purpose it served being in the storyBut the sentence carries so much power than that At the same time I realized the purpose of the shot it also hit home how Owen had lived his entire life for that momemt He had known his fate his moment and not only did he embrace it he had prepared for it And when it came time to act and live this moment he didn't flinch Just as Owen had lived his life for one specific point and time the power of this story was revealed to me in one perfect sentence It gave me THE SHIVERS

  2. Emily May Emily May says:

    “I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice Not because of his voice or because he was the smallest person I ever knew or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death but because he is the reason I believe in God” I've opted for the 3 star approach but you shouldn't give it much weight where this book is concerned Some people are really hung up on ratings does it really only deserve 1 star? you seemed to like it why not 5 stars? when in truth this book is so complex smart multilayered and slow as fuck that it's impossible to rateA Prayer for Owen Meany is a strange and interesting book about faith and doubt with Owen himself representing an embodiment of the relationship between the natural and supernatural everything from his physical description to the events of his life seem halfway between this world and the nextThis is my first Irving book I don't know if that's a mistake or not I probably will check out his other work but I'll definitely save it for a time when I'm ready for a slow plot In A Prayer for Owen Meany the narrator is John Wheelwright but he fades into the background offering a perspective that at times feels like third person John details the lives and habits of the characters surrounding him most notably of course Owen Meany making it a book about them and not himself In fact it seems like the author deliberately kept the novel's focus off of its narrator who is perhaps a stand in for himself?As I said the story moves slowly and sometimes has a rambling uality going on and on in exhaustive detail exploring every aspect of a scene so that we get a lot of character and thematic depth and also it must be said a bit of a headache But it's hard to deny that Irving has a way with words and storytelling working up to an important moment gradually and effectively even if with a painful slownessThe story spans many years and sometimes jumps a lot of time within a single page before coming back again As with many non linear narratives it offers a different and fascinating approach while not being without confusion It runs alongside many important events in American history Kennedy's assassination for example which allows John to express his disdain for the Reagan administration as well as his general anger toward AmericaI'm not exaggerating when I say it's strange John's account of his and Owen's childhood is odd to begin with but the novel becomes increasingly nuts towards the end I can't say I fully enjoyed it but I thought the themes were interesting and incorporated well John's running criticisms of America and American life manifest in ways big and small the big being assassinations and the Vietnam War the small being such as his mother's death by a baseball an important American symbolIt's not the kind of book you read for enjoyment or I personally don't think so but then I never fully got that guy in college who refused to go to any social events because he wanted to read Marcel Proust but it is the kind you save for when you want a clever thoughtful read with many layers and themes to uncover I am glad I finally read itBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store

  3. Marty Marty says:

    A long time ago I came across a story that my grandmother recommended I wasn’t sure what to expect but I definitely hadn’t expected to read what would become my favorite book The story begins as many do giving background on the area that will provide the setting for our tale a history as reference but uickly catches up with the main characters and the supporting cast And we uickly learn of Johnny and Owen Meany two friends who forge an eternal bond despite their obvious mismatches physical social cultural and religious differences And a tragic conseuence of a baseball gameGOD HAS TAKEN YOUR MOTHER MY HANDS WERE THE INSTRUMENT GOD HAS TAKEN MY HANDS I AM GOD'S INSTRUMENTBig words for an eleven year old who can almost sit in his friend's lap But Owen is so self assured that whether John believes him or not he knows that there is something special about Owen They all know that there is something different but no one but Johnny knows how different or special Owen really isThrough their years together Owen grows closer to Johnny than a simple friend He becomes a brother an aide in the search for Johnny's unnamed father an influence that will guide Johnny's throughout his life From helping to search for the identity of Johnny's father to keeping him out of the Vietnam war Owen has written the script for Johnny's life although Johnny never realizes it until the end of the story only then does he know that Owen knew the script for his own life as well but never revealed itEach action in his short life was a test to help him fulfill the one part of his destiny that he couldn't see the final act Johnny faithfully helps Owen in these tasks things that he can't possibly know the reasons for But to Owen even Johnny's mother's death had a purpose Everything had a purpose to Owen Even if he was the only one to seem to know why things happened the way they didHe had sunk the shot in under four secondsYOU SEE WHAT A LITTLE FAITH CAN DO? said Owen Meany The brain damaged janitor was applauding SET THE CLOCK TO THREE SECONDS Owen told himJesus Christ I saidIF WE CAN DO IT IN UNDER FOUR SECONDS WE CAN DO IT IN UNDER THREE he said IT JUST TAKES A LITTLE MORE FAITHIt takes practice I told him irritablyFAITH TAKES PRACTICE said Owen MeanyIrving uses Owen Meany to analyze faith not only as in a single religion sense spirituality as a whole Despite everything that he endures Owen Meany never loses his faith his knowledge that he is an INSTRUMENT OF GOD as he reminds Johnny on many occasions It is this faith through the threat of expulsion through the lean hard teen years and into his enlistment into the army that keeps Owen going knowing that he has a mission that he has to fulfill and not much time to do it Along the way he changes Johnny filling him with confidence and self reliance and even religion infusing all of those characteristics that Owen has an abundance of and is loathe to leave behindIrving's narrative is uniuely captivating as is the way that he chooses to depict characters to breath life into them Although Owen and Johnny are by far the main characters they live among a expansive cast who all have their own place in this tapestry Owen touches everyone in some small way leading up to his grand fulfillment A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of my favorite books and many other's that I have lent it to have found a fondness for the story as well Owen grabs you the way he grabs the other characters in the novel There is something so strong so compelling about him that you have to find out what is going to happen NOW I KNOW WHY YOU HAD TO BE HERE Owen said to me DO YOU SEE WHY? he asked meYes I saidREMEMBER ALL OF OUR PRACTICING? he asked meI remember I saidAnd you will remember it too

  4. Lisa Lisa says:

    Being in a melancholy mood I was trying to think of a book that made me laugh tears And the first one that came to mind was Owen Meany I couldn't stop laughing except for when I cried buckets Rarely do I read books that shake my emotional euilibrium in the same entertaining way Owen Meany in all his absurdities will stay with me forever just like the other characters which I learned to love despite or because of their highly constructed lives all serving the big purpose in the end Some say this is a novel proving the inner truth of faith I say this is a novel that shows a reader the literary basis of any myth The creator of stories moves his characters to the grand finale with a purpose and the reader knows it and cries and laughs anywayIn my adolescence I went through a John Irving phase reading most of his tragicomedy novels in one go loving his sad humour his strange plots his social message and his uniue characterisation Of all his novels this one touched me most and it is the one I have kept in my heart over 20 years I can still see that baseball flying in slow motion And I can still feel that rage against the author How dare you put me through this emotional collapse between laughter and tears? I can still hear the voice of Owen and feel his incredible determination The airport scene still breaks my heart the sheer beauty of the practised sacrifice is just l'art pour l'art at its bestWhen the narrator sums up his doom I feel with himI am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice Not because of his voice or because he was the smallest person I ever knew or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death but because he is the reason I believe in God I am a Christian because of Owen MeanyOwen Meany didn't make me a Christian uite the contrary but he certainly made me a believer in the power of fiction I am also doomed to remember his voice

  5. Diane Diane says:

    This is the book that made me want to be a writer I read it in high school thanks to my favorite English teacher Mrs B who had written down the title on a Post It note and said You need to read this I immediately went and found a copy and had it finished it by the end of the week There is no way I can write a review that is worthy of this novel but I shall try It is the story of two boys in New Hampshire in the 1950s the narrator is Johnny Wheelwright whose family is wealthy; and his friend Owen Meany How to describe Owen? He was small and light and he had a loud high pitched voice He was smart and a loyal friend Owen's parents were a bit odd and his family was poor enough that the Wheelwrights often helped Owen with tuition and clothingThe first chapter brings a tragedy Johnny and Owen are playing baseball Owen who doesn't usually get to bat because he was so small was told by the coach to go ahead and swing Owen hits a foul ball that strikes Johnny's mother and kills her Johnny is devastated and has trouble forgiving Owen but they eventually make peace thanks to a stuffed armadillo toy Thus explaining the armadillo pictured on some editionsThe rest of the chapters cover the boys as they grow up and go to prep school Owen has a gift for writing and pens some inflammatory columns in the school newspaper There is also a hilarious prank that Owen pulls on a teacher he doesn't like which involves a car some athletes and a stageOne of my favorite sections of the book describes a church Christmas pageant that goes horribly awry Owen who can be a bit bossy takes over the pageant and assigns himself the role of Baby Jesus even though in previous years it was just a doll It's a laugh out loud disaster and almost every year at Christmastime I'll pull out this book and reread the chapterWhen the boys turn 18 the Vietnam War is escalating and Owen signs up for the Reserve Officers Training Corps which will pay for his college tuition while he serves Owen even comes up with a plan to spare Johnny from having to go to Vietnam Owen always has a plan you seeThe plot slowly builds and builds and I would describe it as a crescendo There is a purpose to everything in the story and by the end of the book we understand why things had to be exactly what they wereIf you are a first time reader of this novel I need to warn you that there is a difficult passage at the beginning Johnny who is now an adult and has left the United States and moved to Canada discusses his feelings about religion I think this is the point where some readers get frustrated and abandon the book but I urge you I implore you I beg you do not give up There is a reason for it If you can power through the discussion of churches you will break through to a wonderful storySpeaking of religion I would be remiss not to mention the comparison to Jesus that Irving made Whenever Owen speaks his dialogue is in ALL CAPS Bible readers will note that Jesus' words were printed in an all red font in many editions There are other similarities to Christ but the less said on this the betterI have reread this book many times since I first read it in 1990 and each time it moves me again Some novels are easy to explain this one is not It's a marvelous mix of comedy and drama and bildungsroman and the meaning of our lives and I am grateful to have it in my life I am not a religious person but I became so attached to the character of Owen that thinking about him can make me a bit misty eyed He is complex and fleshed out in a way that few fictional characters are Note This book meant so much to me that I was horrified to hear that Hollywood made it into a movie There is no way this book could be captured on film Luckily someone had the good sense to change the title probably a demand of Mr Irving but I have no intention of ever seeing it Some of you may know that I have a hobby of comparing movies adaptations with the source material but this book is the exception I want to remember it in its pure form Owen would want it that way

  6. Jason Jason says:

    I've been on a huge John Irving kick recently and man am I glad I didn't start with this book because I might have aborted the whole thing before I had a chance to read some of his better worksThis one just didn't do it for me Whereas I left other Irving novels feeling recharged and alive I left this one pissed off and ready to drink cheap teuila until I blacked out and woke up in a new world where there are no books or stories or any sort of entertainment derived from the written word First of all I think Irving has a habit of using his novel's narrators as a stand in for himself which is fine since he seems like and incredibly interesting dude but here I felt like he was just going through the motions Oh ok here's my main character and he's different than me uh because we have different names and umdifferent parentsanyway yeah that's how we're different ok story time now it was a thin disguise at best and didn't work for me at all My second problem was the structure The book takes place over the span of about 30 years and sometimes events from all thirty were addressed in a single page Which is fine if it works but I felt like he was trying to go for an omni present narrative that ended up being muddledI also think the book might work better for people who are a little older than myself A large part of the story deals with the Vietnam war and it's relation to the Iran Contra scandal While these passages were in no way lacking it did seem like they were aimed for people who were alive during that time and could share in Irving's obvious outrage Side note I found myself finding a bazillion yes a bazillion similarities between the national atmosphere in '68 and now Oh and while I love Irving's knack for the unusual here it seemed like every other page he was trying to force a classic situation wherein unusual characters meet in an unusual situation that illuminates their nature in the most unusual of ways It got so bad that at times I felt like I was reading a sitcom There were a few bright spots I was genuinely moved by Owen's character and I thought he served as a wonderful example of how Christ could have been at once holy and flawed Gah The thing is Irving is a new love in my life and like any new love I wanted it to be perfect But he isn't and that's fine because who wants perfection anyway but goddamn I wanted to love this oneUm yes Ok well I'm giving it two stars but two stars for Irving is four for most other authors

  7. Matt Matt says:

    To begin the year I tackled one of John Irving’s classic novels that found me laughing throughout while also extracting some of the serious themes Owen Meany is a small child much tinier than those his age With this he has the most grating voice one could imagine Some attribute this to the family granite company while others prefer to keep the mystery alive Owen is unlike many other children his age as his best friend John Wheelwright has come to discover One summer day in 1953 Owen hits a foul ball on the baseball field and ends up killing John’s mother Owen attributes this as an act of God one in which he is a vessel for the Almighty The rest of the novel is set in a number of vignettes involving John and Owen surrounding by a number of other characters who cross their paths throughout this complex friendship From a number of interactions with the Wheelwright family through to stunning decisions that could significantly shape his adult life Owen Meany finds a way to make his impact felt by all those around him sometimes in a saviour like manner This storyline is contrasted nicely with the adult John Wheelwright who has left his native New Hampshire and settled in Toronto exploring some of the goings on in modern 1987 America Having been a resident of Canada for over twenty years it would seem Wheelwright is unable to accept his new home and struggles significantly with the political foibles in the US things he superimposes his own Owen Meany perspective upon Stunning in its delivery and slow momentum build the story is a lot than it seems on the surface Recommended to those readers who love tales that take their time but leave literary breadcrumbs throughout as well as the reader who enjoys a meandering tale full of messagesWhile he has penned a number of great pieces I have never read John Irving Even this book was not familiar to me when placed on my reading challenge list I was not entirely sure how I would feel about it when I read the dust jacket blurb but I cannot say enough now Layered between a religious undertone and preachy child who seems to know it all the story developed in a meandering fashion but always seemed able to push forward I found Owen to be as annoying as ever from the opening pages but I stuck with him and noticed that he has some redeeming moments even though he seems too pompous and pious for his own good His prophetic ways and odd obsession with older women—both in admiration and an odd sexual manner—leaves the reader wondering about him yet also transfixed by his oddities Even with John as the narrator Owen seems almost takes centre stage and does not defer at any time I did enjoy John’s character as he comes of age alongside his best friend and seems never to hold animosity for the accidental death of his mother Inseparable for most of the book John and Owen seem to grow together and experience life through many of same experiences though their lenses differ greatly The flash forwards to John’s 1987 life show that he remains committed to being Owen’s narrative protector and seems unable to divorce himself from his American roots refusing the conform to the Canada he accepted as his new home With strong religious ties to his Episcopalian Anglican upbringing John Wheelwright sheds some of that on the reader as well With a full cast of wonderfully diverse characters the story moves forward and is flavoured repeatedly as things take many a tangential turn Irving is a master at this type of colourful depiction never losing the reader no matter how far off the beaten path things get The story appears to be a uilted collection of memories and vignettes but soon finds its groove and the reader is able to see the themes that Irving embeds within the narrative These gems slowly come to create a larger masterpiece that the patient reader is able to see for themselves by the final few pages I am happy that I was able to last this lengthy piece as its rewards surely outweigh the non linear nature of the story at timesKudos Mr Irving for a stunning piece well worthy of a five star ratingThis book fulfils the January reuirement of the Mind the Bookshelf Gap reading challenge This book also fulfils Topic #3 Children Matter in the Euinox #9 reading challenge Lovehate the review? An ever growing collection of others appears at Book for All Seasons a different sort of Book Challenge

  8. Edward Lorn Edward Lorn says:

    Solid four stars This is book seven in my John Irving Challenge Let it be known that I'm an idiot Irving's books shouldn't be read this close together He takes upwards of four years to write these fucking things and reading them back to back only highlights the little repetitive details that an author will forget about in four plus years I do not suggest being an idiot like me Take your time with this author's back catalog I'd say they would be best read a year apart from each other Now we digress for a while This is going to be a lengthy diatribe followed by a review that will upset some people You've been warnedIf you're only here for my thoughts on this book skip ahead to paragraph four the following paragraph being paragraph #1 ThanksI love the Goodreads community There are authors who stay away from what they call the Shark Tank of the Reading Community where dastardly trollish reviewers circle waiting for a badly behaved author to cut themselves inciting a feeding frenzy There are authors who literally believe Goodreads members have nothing better to do than to sit around waiting for authors to show the first sign of weakness Then there are authors who use this site for marketing and what people in the restaurant business call table touching They hone their craft based on input garnered from reviews and come to be active members who are here to help you with whatever uestions you'd having regarding their latest book or to host a giveaway or maybe sometimes they also read and rate books but never do they review because they don't want to cause waves Then you have authors like me I will always be a reader first A reader who has his own opinions his own likes and dislikes his own views of the world I don't write reviews to sell books I don't write reviews to gain fans In fact I feel that sometimes my honest opinions damage me in the public eye than they'll ever help me right MommaCat? But again I write these for myself or to give warnings to readers who enjoy or dislike the sames things as I You will only ever receive my genuine feelings about a book I don't participate in circle jerk review swapping I don't carpet bomb rivals or reuest that my fans do so and I don't put on a happy face when someone pisses in my review corner in order to save face and keep acuaintances happy I'm not that kinda dude Don't like my opinions on books but like the stuff I write? Fine Don't read my reviews Better yet don't follow me Pretend I don't exist here on Goodreads or social media in general Wouldn't bother me a bit I'm not here for a popularity contest I'm not on Goodreads for any reason other than discussing books with friends If you don't like when I don't fangirl over your favorite books that's none of my concern If that twists your underwear in a knot and gives you a hemorrhoid oh well Because I'm not some dancing monkey here solely for your entertainment I'm a human being with his own thoughts and tastes and guess what that means? It means that sometimes ladies and gentlemen of the internet we are going to disagree But if you're only here to tell me how wrong I am about your favorite book or that I should shut up and write books instead of reviewing them I will kindly ask you right now to stay the fuck off my grassI know I'm the enemy of some of you simply because I am an author I get that and I try to keep my distance from you For the most part you keep your distance from me too and I appreciate it and this site remains a pleasant place for both of us Simply put I know where I'm not wanted and I stay away lest I welcome your hellfire But again FOR THE MOST PART this website fucking rocks as do the users who populate it It's full of my favorite type of person in all the world Readers Because I'm a reader myself a lifelong lover of books and all I want to do is discuss books and share my favorite books and rage over the ones that piss me off If I shit on your favorite books it's because I didn't like them not because I think I'm better than anyone else I get that I'm a scrub fighting his way to the top and that some authors have been successful than me and for good reason You're watching me learn You have front row tickets to my literary education But the simple fact of the matter is sometimes I'm not going to like what you consider to be amazing works of literature And if you take my reviews personally well I just gotta say the fucking world doesn't revolve around you It doesn't revolve around me either The difference between me and you is that I realize that opinions are subjective and that your negative review of a book I like is not a personal attack on me just like my negative review of a book you love is not a personal attack on youBut someone recently took it personally which is why you're reading this stupid fucking diatribe I was concerned that by not giving A Prayer for Owen Meany a perfect score that I might summon down the wrath of some of you Not all of you Some of you Maybe one or two of you You know who you are I shouldn't have to say this It should be simple common sense that a stranger's opinion is not a slight on the temple of You It's really that simple I like a lot of you whose taste in books boggle my mind I hate stuff like erotica or romance or YA but loads of my friends on here love that shit You don't see me in their comments section raging out over their tastes So what if I don't like the books you read? Life goes on And I think that's my point here LIFE GOES ON Stop taking everything so fucking personally They are books for fuck's sake They're meant to be enjoyed They're meant to be escapes Stop getting so bent out of shape and go love whatever and whomever you want to love Go on No one's stopping you Now let's talk about THIS bookTHE ACTUAL REVIEW STARTS HEREA Prayer for Owen Meany is beautifully written I could uote whole chapters to you it's that good in places Pay close attention to those two words though in places That being said I still think The World According to Garp is the better all around experience I know I know many of you will disagree with me I know how many of you love this book It was the single most reuested book for me to read and review once I announced I was doing this John Irving Challenge I'm attempting to read all of his books in a year and am currently on track to do so and I feel some of you will be let down by my critiue But I'm not apologizing for how I feel No one should have to apologize for liking or dislking or just feeling meh about a book Ever While the level of writing in this book far exceeds the level of writing in GARP GARP was consistently good This book tends to ramble about meaningless literary stuffs like the background of character who pass in and out of the story only once And the constant America hate got old Irving's right This country has long been fucked But beating a dead horse does not become him and that's what the majority of this book is; Irving beating a dead horse A horse that died on page 256I appreciate that Irving was trying to make Owen Meany's voice aggravating but I found nearly everything about the kid annoying He was too much of a know it all in my book and because I am not religious in any way shape or form I found a lot of his views sillier than a fucking clown orgy People who talk to their god of choice or claim to hear His voice are no different to me than the wino outside the liuor store discussing uantum physics with the long dead Carl Sagan He's not talking to anyone but himself and neither are you You're both off your nut Just my opinion But crazy can be fun and in places Owen Meany is fun But nowhere is he fun than during the church performance and his part in A Christmas Carol Which brings me to my number one complaint with this bookThe novel peaks at the 200 page mark and is never as entertaining as it was in those first 200 pages Once the boys grew up I lost interest I knew Owen's fate I knew John's fate I knew everyone's fate whether from my own guessing which turned out to be accurate and I hate when that happens or because the author spoiled his own book No reason I needed to know Owen's fate at page 200 No reason whatsoever Fuck you for telling it Irving My final word on the book is thisThere is never a good reason for 100 page chapters Screw any author who does it I'm the type of reader who takes breaks only when a chapter has concluded If your chapter is 100 pages long I MUST read all 100 pages in one sitting If not I feel like I've done the book a disservice by stopping where it never intended for me to stop I know I'm fucking weird You're not telling me anything I don't already know Thing is I'm not a uick reader I peak at 100 pages a day Not moving all day seriously fucks with my mobility so I was forced numerous times to put the book down and walk around when I didn't want to But that's just my bitch You likely won't notice nor will you likely care if you doIn summation If you read this entire review it's very likely you are not happy with me I know some of you will take offense where no offense is meant but you'd do that anyway Some people are professionally bothered Nothing I can do about it But if you feel guilty about something or feel the need to defend someone that's on you I'm not pointing fingers I'm making observations and these observations are the way I see things And what I found in this book is an author who has fallen in love with his own voice and rightly so The writing is sexy as fuck But at some point you have to learn when to kill your darlings for the sake of the reader's enjoyment And I feel too many darlings were spared in the writing of this book And in parts too much was spoiled far too early Take care of each other and on to the next IrvingFinal Judgment Pretty but bloated

  9. Tom Tom says:

    I'm sure you can read a million reviews about this book It seems to be many people's favorite Let me just say that I have read 5 or 6 John Irving books and this is the only one that is much than a good story About 10 years ago I was assisting a photography class for adults and one of the particpants a minister saw that I was reading this book He said that A prayer for Owen Meany had to say about the nature of God than anything he had ever read We had a fabulous conversation about the book I am basically an atheist without the anti god feeling that sometimes implies yet despite our religious differences we took exactly the same things away from this story It's a powerful narrative

  10. Nathan Nathan says:

    I gave this book three stars because I figure that's the average of five stars and one star Some of the things about this book were great; others were really terribleIrving's strong point is definitely his ability to draw interesting characters in vivid sometimes painful detail Owen of course is the central and most interesting character He's a little runt of a boy with a bizarre voice a sarcastic wit an iron will and an unwavering faith in God and in the fact that he is an instrument of God's will In stark contrast to Owen's miraculous life stands Owen's best friend and the narrator of the story John We get two views of John Most of the book consists of John narrating his childhood and telling the story of Owen Meany The childhood John is self conscious indecisive and unmotivated The other view comes from periodic scenes of the middle aged mundane John who now lives in Toronto and invariably launches into long and bitter rants against the United States and its foreign policy The reason for the rants becomes clear by the end of the book but that doesn't make them any enjoyableMany of the supporting characters are also interesting I really liked John's grandmother Mrs Wheelwright who is a sort of New England old money royalty John's sexually charged and extremely rambunctious cousins are usually comical and Reverend Louis Merrill is sort of tragically lovableThe plot on the other hand is incredibly long and wandering Though parts of the narrative are moderately gripping often the story drags along Irving keeps you reading not with intense plot development but rather with an intense curiosity to find out what the big deal is about Owen Meany While the ending is good very good in my opinion Irving has built up your anticipation so much that by the time it finally happens it almost doesn't have a prayer pardon the pun of meeting your expectationsWhile there are several themes in the book the most important in my opinion seems to be that of faith vs doubt Owen's incredibly strong faith is contrasted with John's lack of faith during his childhood and his passive church rummage faith during his adult life which we are told on the first page John credits to the miracle of Owen Meany The Reverend Louis Merrill also seems to be a important character than his relatively small role would suggest and his self admitted personal philosophy is the paradoxical doubt as the essence of faith In one of the ironic passages of the book slight spoiler warning Rev Merrill's doubt is finally dispelled not through the miraculous events surrounding Owen Meany but through a very mundane and spiteful prankThe problem is that none of the book's myriad of themes and symbols was particularly interesting to me The central theme discussed above seems to hold such potential but in the end I didn't feel any enlightened than I started Often with books I find myself identifying with one particular character That didn't happen with this book and I think that impeded my ability to glean insight from the storyOverall I'm glad I read it I'd be interested to hear what other's have to say about it

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