Friday, October 14, 2011

A Prayer for Owen Meany - Book Review

It's been so long since I posted a book review. In September I was celebrating the self-declared "Read What You Want" month and I was able to finally read some books that have been sitting on my shelf for awhile. At the end of September I started reading A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. I am just now finishing it.

Several of my favorite people read and loved A Prayer for Owen Meany and its setting is the beautiful New Hampshire, so I must admit that I was biased from the start. I was completely prepared to fall madly in love with this novel and I did.

Johnny Wheelwright tells the story of his very best friend Owen Meany, who is very small and has a distinctive voice. Owen believes, even as a child, that he is the hands of God--an instrument for God's purposes. A Prayer for Owen Meany is a story of family, friendship and faith. As the boys grow up in New Hampshire during the idyllic 1950s and the riotous 1960s, Johnny's own faith grows as a result of Owen's example and ultimate sacrifice.

The novel is witty, delightful, painful and emotionally stirring. It causes the reader to think and question, ponder and wonder. The characters in this small New England town are fabulously eccentric, yet completely believable. I adored Johnny and Owen as children. I liked them slightly less as adults. It is difficult to divorce the thought that it is a true story. It is fiction, yet it is tremendous fiction.

There were two factors involved in the length of time it took me to read this novel. First, I simply haven't had as much time to read. I have been so busy, good busy but too busy to read. Second, the novel is quite long. I'm not one to shy away from a long novel, but I did get bogged down in some sections. I felt that much of Johnny's adult rage could have been removed without much loss from the plot, characters and theme. Even so, I thoroughly enjoyed this powerful book and mourned its ending like the loss of an old friend.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving is a lovely piece of literature, destined to become a well beloved classic.

1 comment:

Booklogged said...

So glad to read that you fell in love with this book, too. If you haven's seen the movie yet, you really need to. It takes some liberties but still captures the essence of the book. It's called Simon Birch. The characters in the movie fit the characters in the book really well.