I read a lot of books, so choosing a favorite is no small task. "A Prayer for Owen Meany" has been my very favorite novel since first reading it over Christmas break my freshman year of college. It continues to be my favorite and most oft-recommended ten years later.
John Irving is a talented writer, as no one will dispute. What makes his writing unique, however, are the quirks of his characters and his rather odd conglomeration of themes and topics. Read a couple of his books and realize the man has a passion for Amsterdam's red-light district - for prostitutes - for wrestling! His characters are among the strangest casts in modern fiction, be they tattoo artists, Indian midget circus performers, faithless pastors, mentally ill musical prodigies, or Owen - the abnormally small, voraciously intelligent son of granite-quarry owners who "SPEAKS EVERY WORD IN CAPITAL LETTERS!"
"A Prayer for Owen Meany" follows the lives of two best friends in New Hampshire, coming of age just before the Vietnam War. Jonathan's loving, wonderful mother is killed by an errant baseball when he is a child, leaving him to be raised by his wealthy, eccentric grandmother and kind step-father. (The identity of his biological father died with his mother, and is one of the great mysteries to be solved in the novel.) Owen is a rarity, and preaches to everyone that there is a reason he looks and speaks the way he does. As they grow older, go through school, challenge authority, and become young men, an older Jonathan narrates from his position as English teacher in a Canadian private school for girls. The book is part political manifesto, part American history. Irvings characters are mind-bending and unexpected, unflinching and hilarious. It's like a contemporary Dickens. Only much stranger and far more sexual ...
If what I've written so far hasn't intrigued you, then Irving may not be your style. But I worhsip his writing, and consider him one of the living legends of our time. READ THIS BOOK!!!!
John Irving is a master of the craft of writing, and "A Prayer for Own Meany" is the crown jewel of his extraordinary talent. It's as simple as that. Whether the actual plot speaks to you or not, reading Irving is true chicken soup for the soul. Out of thin air, Irving fastens characters, moments and descriptions that you feel like you've seen before in real life yet never would have been able to put into words. His writing is proof that it's really the little … more
In many ways, this is a very enjoyable book. John Irving's style is pleasantly unadorned. His characters are fairly interesting, and they have some pretty entertaining adventures. But overall, I felt this was a flawed work. Prayer is the story of two boys growing up in New Hampshire, the narrator and his friend, Owen Meany. The narrator has a very sweet and beautiful mother but he doesn't know who his father is. Owen Meany is small and has a funny voice, but he's very smart and serious … more