Monday, 8 April 2019

Book Review: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

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.

"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."

If you had told me, “Johann... you’re going to read this book that focuses on topics like the Vietnam War, American/Canadian politics and religion, and is centred around a young boy who believes he is God’s instrument... AND you’re going to REALLY enjoy it” I’ve have said “get the fuck outta here”- I’m not much of a politics person, nor do I enjoy reading about history, but luckily the Vietnam war is one period of history that I know a lot about (thank you, GCSE History!) so at least I could follow along!

A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of those awkward books that you had a good time with, but you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to everyone. Not everyone is gonna like those themes and not everyone enjoys a book that moves quite slowly at times. But this gal did!

Irving’s writing is beautiful. The one downside is that he reeeeally likes to hammer things home, hence this 700 page chunker. This could easily have been a couple of 100 pages shorter and still carried the same weight and resonance. One thing that surprised me though was how absolutely hilarious it was at times. Some of Owen Meany’s actions and opinions legit cracked me up! The nativity scene in particular was a highlight, it really tickled me!

Oh, and I had mentioned it in one of my stories, but every word that leaves Owen’s mouth is in capitals. Which is fine. Perfectly fine. Especially when he goes on for a few pages... *eye twitches*

Once again, I was left in tears by the end. This book is intelligent, complex and multi-layered and I was incredibly fucking impressed at how Irving stitched it all together.

Probably not for everyone, but then again, I didn’t think it would be for me and I really dug it!! 4 stars.


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