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 A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving (c. 1989)

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PostSubject: A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving (c. 1989)   Wed 21 Jan 2009, 5:23 pm

I have this topic for February, but since I'm going on a beach trip in a couple days (and there is bound to be tons of reading, yeah!), I picked a couple for this topic to bring along. I started this one today. This book has been recommended to me more times than I can count. Every time I say I love to read in a group of folks, invariably, one person will say, "Have you read A Prayer for Owen Meany?" ... to which I must constantly reply, "No. I have not."

Since it was picked in the 1001 Books, I thought the opportunity was ripe. I know zero about the book other than the author also wrote The World According to Garp, which I read a very long time ago but enjoyed.

So here is one of my picks for this topic. Review to follow.



Carolyn
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PostSubject: Review of "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving   Sun 01 Feb 2009, 12:57 pm

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving c. 1989

This was a thoroughly enjoyable, transporting read about the lives of a generation of people (from the early 50s - mid 80s) in a small town in New Hampshire. Of course, the main person we learn about is Owen Meany, told through the eyes of his best friend, Johnny Wheelright. We meet them when they are about 10 years old and follow them up until their early 20s. The characters are all rich and fascinating, with one glaring exception, the narrarator, Wheelright. I was really tepid on him as he was so apathetic, wishy-washy and well, pretty boring to read about. So the mechasim of the modern-day "flash forwards" (to his life in the 80s when this book was written, looking back on his childhood-early adult years) had me struggling at times. However, the "flashbacks" are awesome. At its core, this is Owen Meany's story and what a wonderful story it is. He is easily my favorite literary character in a decade or more of voracious fiction reading. Owen is a tiny/undersized person who has a voice impediment, both of which he overcomes in amazing ways to become a local hero of sorts. He is sweet, honest (to the point of being incredibly funny), perhaps a genius; and he thinks he is the instrument of God. By by the end of his story, one has to wonder ~ or at least you might look at things a bit differently. It is impossible to give too much of a review in specifics without giving away the novel's magic, so I will just say it is wonderful and when I usually groan about the "pulling all the pieces together" end portion of most books, this one held some real surprises. This is a weaving of many different plot lines that come together in a really cool way. Highly recommended for so many readers ~ the book visit topics such as the Vietman War (protestors and soldiers alike), academic life an all boys acadamy, the humorous nuances of structured religions (Episcopol vs. Catholic vs. Congregationsists, etc.), the genesis of television, the beauty of a non-traditional family and the lifelong impact of having an amazing "best friend." The only reason I did not give this one 5 stars is because of the tedious narrarator. But overall, it was a very entertaining read and well worth the time.

4 stars out of 5
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PostSubject: Re: A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving (c. 1989)   Thu 19 Feb 2009, 12:00 pm

Carolyn,
I'm was waiting with anticipation to see if you would like this book...and you did!! I read this book in 1991, and to this day, Owen Meany pops into my mind on occasion. I loved this book!! I would like to read his other book "Until I Find You".

"On June 28, 2005, The New York Times published an article[1] revealing that Until I Find You contains two specifically personal elements about his life that he has never before discussed publicly: his sexual abuse at age 11 by an older woman, and the recent entrance in his life of his biological father's family."

Tracy S.
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PostSubject: Re: A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving (c. 1989)   Mon 02 Mar 2009, 10:39 am

This is my pick for my March catagory (1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die). Carolyn, Tracy Schrayer and a good friend of mine (who read it for her book club) liked this book and all the good reviews on Amazon helped me make my decision. Even though it is a few days shy of March, I started to read the book already. Couldn't wait and I am a slow reader and the book is 543 pages.
Good Luck to everyone with their March categories.

Dorothy

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PostSubject: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving - review   Fri 03 Apr 2009, 11:04 am

It took me a few days into April to finish this book. It was funny in so many parts and also very serious in others. It was probally one of the most unusal books I have ever read. The characters were all great. Took me awhile to get used to his style of writing and that is one of the reasons I am giving it 3 1/2 stars. I do recommend it though because of the characters and all the different subjects covered-religion, politics, education, war and the time period it covered. Would make a very good bookclub discussion book.
Dorothy
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