“If you care about something you have to protect it – If you’re lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.”
– John Irving in ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’
Yo! Here’s my first ever book review on SoulSpeak! If you have any suggestions/feedback or want to discuss this book some more, I would love for you to get in touch with me!
This book is so hyped and talked-about, I just had to write a review!
A Prayer for Owen Meany
– John Irving
My Shelves: Literary Fiction/ Great endings
Period: US in the 1950s, Vietnam War
SoulSpeak rating: ♥♥♥ (3/5)
Goodreads rating: 4.22/5
This book deserves 3 stars. Why? Because there are certain parts that I loved while certain parts that I absolutely hated.
This was my first book by John Irving. Owen Meany is by far, one of the most memorable characters in modern literature. The tiny boy with the distinctive high-pitched squeaky voice and a sharp intellect leaves a strong impression on the reader’s mind. When he is eleven, Owen manages to kill his best friend Johny’s mom with a hard hit baseball.
(No, that ain’t really a spoiler! You will find this on the book’s back cover itself!)
What follows takes us through the lives of both these boys, centered around Owen’s belief that he is an “instrument of God”, alive for a very specific reason. All his life, he prepares himself for this very defining moment.
Intellectuals, people who like thought-provoking reads, classic lovers, serious readers, people with an interest in Catholicism, different shades of humanity, and those with a sarcastic sense of humor.
Things I liked
While reading the book, I often found myself asking why Irving insisted on describing inconsequential incidents with such excruciating detail. I mainly refer to Owen’s “pitching” practice, his obsession with Johnny’s mom, and the religious connotations. What took me by surprise, was how it all came together in the end. The ending of the book is the perfect climax to all that unfolds till then. While my interest in the book was fading till the end, the ending made me sit up. Finally, it all made sense!
I found myself thinking about the book days after I finished reading it.
Things I didn’t
The book is extremely detailed with lengthy passages full of religious allusions. I disliked the long biblical passages and nerdy monologues, especially the ones by a grown-up Johnny. This made the book a tad overdrawn at times.
This book is different. If you like experimenting with books of different kinds of literature and would like to expand your reading horizons, you should pick this up. The story is completely different from anything I have read till now, albeit a bit overdrawn. It’s a daring book and will make you think about so many things in life. Overall, a thoughtful read.
“A truly happy woman drives some men and almost every other woman absolutely crazy”
― John Irving in ‘
Did You know?
The 1988 Jim Carrey movie Simon Birch is an adaptation of ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’.
Have you read this book? Do you agree with my views? Comment away!
And have you read any other books by John Irving? What are they like?
Would you recommend any? Please let me know!