Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book: A Prayer for Owen Meany

It took me probably a year to read this book. Well maybe not, but I know the first time I picked it up and tried to read it was a looooooong time ago. I've seen this book on the "must read" or "favorites" lists of various people on F*cebook or blogs, and the story of how I came into possession of my copy is kind of interesting. (Warning: tangent!)

I like to buy books at the local library's used book store. They are always cheap and the money goes to a great cause. Then when I'm done with the books, I donate them back to the same place so they can sell them again. It's a beautiful thing! One day I was shopping and had a stack of books already, and was considering this book. A lady I'd never met, after seeing the other titles in my hand, insisted I buy this book because I "would love it!" I wasn't so sure, but she was insistent, and only 50 cents was on the line, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Fast forward about 2 years... and we get back to the book!

First of all, I tried to read this book at least once before, and just couldn't get into it. This time I just forced myself to read it, even though it was still difficult to get into. As the book wore on, the foreshadowing became darker and so the dramatic ending was not without some warning, although there were definite moments of tragedy throughout the book.

The book cover says, "Owen Meany ... believes he is God's instrument; he is." (Warning: tangent!) So I was watching the movie "Evan Almighty" last weekend (yes, I know, completely irreverent, but...) and in the movie, someone asks Evan if he believes God called him to build an ark. His reply is something like, "God calls all of us." I think personally, I feel the idea of Owen being called is so prominent in this book, that the idea that God calls all of us is invisible. I side with Evan on that one.

The book cover also says, "This is John Irving's (the author's) most comic novel...." Really? Unfortunately, the author and I must not have too much in common when it comes to sense of humor. There were a few funny moments, I guess, but I would not call this a comic novel.

Summary... I would read another book by John Irving, primarily because his writing is good enough to make me want to see what else he's written. On the other hand, I really just didn't get it. I understood the book and the events in it, but I don't quite understand those that say this book is a "must read" or who have placed it on their "favorites" list. Maybe I missed something? Maybe I'm just really dense. I feel I'm at risk of being really dumb because the greatness of this book is completely obvious... to everyone else.

So if you've read this book and can enlighten me... I welcome your comments. What did you like about it? What  makes this book so great in your eyes?

A Prayer for Owen Meany
by John Irving

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1 comment:

  1. The movie "Simon Birch" was (very) loosely based on this book...I saw the movie first (had never even heard of the book), so decided to try the book. It IS one of my favorites, but it definitely helped to have some of the character development already done in the movie.

    Heads up - I thought I'd delve into John Irving's other books, since I liked "Owen" so well...and was very much put-off ("Cider House Rules," "The World According To Garp").