This year I joined a book club at the local bookstore with the goal of reading more for fun than to learn something as I have been doing lately. For the month of April, we read A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. Today I want to share my thoughts on the book, so here’s my review.
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Author: John Irving
Publisher: William Morrow, An Imprint Of HarperCollins Publishers
Originally published in 1989 (Hardcopy) and 2012 (Paperback)
My review, in short, I love the book.
What a story. I laughed and cried. I was transported to New Hampshire and felt I was there with them. A story of a friendship between two boys. Self-discovery for Johnny and self-awareness for Owen.
The first sentence of the book set the tone and get you caught in it: “I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice – not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God: I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.”
It is said that the first sentence is important. Well, this is living proof and that after 627 pages, you don’t want the story to end. The story is told by John Wheelwright. Goes from present to past and tells in detail how his life was affected by his friend Owen. How his life was in a self-discovery mode while Owen was aware of whom he was and his purpose in life.
Life test the friendship when Owen hit a baseball, the only ball he ever hit and kills Johnny’s mom. A woman that they both love dearly. This was a pivotal moment early in the story. It strengthens their friendship. A tragic accident that the children manage to own in a very adult way.
Also, faith and Christianity plays an important part. They both grow with a religious background. Owen sees himself as an instrument of God and Johnny comes to realize and embrace his faith due to Owen’s life.
Political views are exposed by Johnny. He voiced his disagreement with the Vietnam War and with the Reagan Administration. He is an expat by choice.
The book is slow pace because of all the details that Johnny gives about their lives. It jumps in time, from present day to the childhood days and back. But also, I understand that is all those details that draw you into the story. I would definitely recommend the book. I love it and got so into it that I would burst into laughs or tears while reading. My son saw my reactions and it made him so curious that he is now reading the book.
This is my first John Irving book and would read more of his books.
Have you read this book? Would love to know your thoughts about it, leave me a comment below.