A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Publication Date: March 1989
Source: My own copy
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.
In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary.
I SHOULD WRITE THIS REVIEW IN ALL CAPS. IF YOU'VE READ THE BOOK YOU'LL KNOW WHY. IF NOT, PLEASE GET YOURSELF TO THE NEAREST BOOKSTORE/LIBRARY AND GET YOURSELF A COPY.
Okay, enough of that. It's annoying.
I think I read Owen Meany at just the right time for me. If I had read this in '89, when it first came out, it wouldn't have affected me as much as it did.
When Irving goes on about A Christmas Carol I got it. I've acted in the play and I recognized all of the lines. When The Great Gatsby was discussed I felt excited because I've recently re-read it. Johnny is a bit obsessed with politics and the news. Hey, me too! Etc., etc.
This quote pretty much sums up my life:
“Newspapers are a bad habit, the reading equivalent of junk food. What happens to me is that I seize upon an issue in the news—the issue is the moral/philosophical, political/intellectual equivalent of a cheeseburger with everything on it; but for the duration of my interest in it, all my other interests are consumed by it, and whatever appetites and capacities I may have had for detachment and reflection are suddenly subordinate to this cheeseburger in my life! I offer this as self-criticism; but what it means to be "political" is that you welcome these obsessions with cheeseburgers—at great cost to the rest of your life.”
I chuckled my way throughout the whole book. Owen is such a character. Is there anyone like him in the history of books? I think not. His views and shenanigans are priceless. There's a scene involving the headmaster, a car, and a set of stairs that sent me over the hysterical edge. (Seriously. The BAHAHAHA kind of laughter that had my family wondering what was wrong with me.)
Have you read A Prayer for Owen Meany? If not, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?