Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Prayer for Owen Meany - My thoughts

Title: A Prayer for Owen Meany
Author: The one and only John Irving
Source: My own book collection

Goodreads Summary:

John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany is the inspiring modern classic that introduced two of the author’s most unforgettable characters, boys bonded forever in childhood: the stunted Owen Meany, whose life is touched by God, and the orphaned Johnny Wheelwright, whose life is touched by Owen. From the accident that links them to the mystery that follows them–and the martyrdom that parts them–the events of their lives form a tapestry of fate and faith in a novel that is Irving at his irresistible best.

My thoughts:

I read this book for the first time at sixteen. My uncle had read it, and passed it on to me to read.  I fell in love with this book that first reading, and never gave it back to my uncle. (Sorry Uncle Mike!)  I have read it every year for twenty-one years. The original copy I had, that was really my uncle's, I passed on to my cousin Meghan, Uncle Mike's daughter, when she graduated from college. I wrote my uncle's name in the book, with my name under it, and then finally Meghan's name under mine. This might seem a lame gift, but to me, it really means something when you pass on a book that you have really loved .

If you have never read this book before, my review, such as it is, is not going to help you know what this book is about. I apologize for that.

I have never been able to put this story into words to explain it to someone else - I think it is something you just have to read and experience and feel for yourself. There are so many complexities and layers, that I think it does the story wrong to even try to wrap it up in a few paragraphs. Some skilled writers can do it. I just can't, it would be like trying to explain love. And don't get me started on Simon Birch - I was so let down and disappointed in that movie, although that might be because of just how much I love this book.

Owen Meany makes me cry. My heart breaks with every reading, and I start crying 200 pages from the end, just for the loss I know is coming. I fall in love with the story and Owen and Johnny and Dan every single time, and when I know that the MOMENT is coming, I just start crying. To be Johnny, to know someone like Owen, have a life long friend like Owen, what kind of void does that leave in your life? Johnny never gets over him, I wouldn't have even thought that was possible, really - the last sentence kills me, and I start to sob.  And I have to be careful or I will start with the crying right now as I type! All I can say is, read this book. Go now and read it. Don't be put off by the length or the gray granite cover or his name or the blurb on the back. Just read it.

By the end of the book Owen Meany will have taught you many things - how to love, how to be a friend, how to believe, how to be brave, how to have faith. He will have broken your heart over and over.

Owen Meany is a character that you will never forget.


  1. What a great review - books that have this impact are so special! I find so much comfort in a book that I know I'll be coming back to every year.

    This is one I've been meaning to read for years and you've given me yet another reason to pick it up!

    1. Thanks! I agree, there is something comforting about a book that you love and reread.

  2. I couldn't agree more :) I finished this a few days back and wowza. I'll never forget Owen, what a great character and a great book!

    1. He is unforgettable - I feel like the reader gets to know him so well. Now you need to read The Hotel New Hampshire if you haven't already. :)

  3. I've had Owen Meany on my list forever, but now I feel like I NEED to read ASAP! What a beautiful review.

    1. Aw thanks! I hope when you do you love it as much as I do!

  4. I just love this book, and it was my first time reading. I'll never forget the first time reading it because I know for certain it will be one of those books I re-read. Like you, it broke my heart, and I truly sobbed reading it. The last line was just a killer. So glad to have picked this one up!


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