Title: A Prayer for Owen Meany
Author: John Irving
Time taken to read: 1 month, 2 weeks
Goodreads synopsis: 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 God’s instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul is both extraordinary and terrifying. At moments a comic, self-deluded victim, but in the end the principal, tragic actor in a divine plan, Owen Meany is the most heartbreaking hero John Irving has yet created.
I finished this book about a month ago, but I’ve been slacking on my reviews. I’ve kind of been slacking on my reading as well–I didn’t meet my book goal for 2017, but it’s a new year and a new chance to read fifty new books. So A Prayer for Owen Meany I read in 2017. It’s my dad’s favorite book, and he bought me a copy to read while I was in the hospital. I wasn’t sure how our tastes would match up, but I have to say this was a phenomenal read.
I was hooked on the voice (and that Voice) from the beginning:
GOD HAS TAKEN YOUR MOTHER. MY HANDS WERE THE INSTRUMENT. GOD HAS TAKEN MY HANDS. I AM GOD’S INSTRUMENT.
Owen’s maturity and insight at such a young age is absolutely arresting. I could feel how special Owen was.
“IT JUST TAKES A LITTLE MORE FAITH.”
“It takes more practice,” I told him irritably.
“FAITH TAKES PRACTICE,” said Owen Meany
I also loved the detail in the settings and the characters, the incredible commentary on just what it was like to be a kid and a young man at that time that seems so ordinary but leads up to such an extraordinary combination of coincidences, if you believe in such a thing. I will say, sometimes it was just too much, and I was getting lost and tired, especially with the horrific length of the chapters (only nine chapters in 617 pages!). But most of the time, Owen Meany felt familiar in a way, like Owen and Johnny were friends of mine. And their friendship was something I wished I had, their closeness so enviable. And I think I’d read this book again, which is really saying something. It was a hard one to pull my nose and head out of–it stuck with me long past the moment I finished it. It’s a bit of a hike, but I definitely recommend it.