Monday, December 7, 2009

Review: A Prayer for Owen Meany

I don't even know how to describe it! This book was fantastic and refreshing and challenging and I just want to tell everyone I meet about it. There is so much depth to this novel that if you read it over and over again you would still feel you could juice more literary goodness out of it, yet you would still feel like you are good friends with the characters. This is one of the best books I've read in a long, long time.

All the synopses on the book fail to capture even the slightest bit about this novel. In general, this is a coming of age novel told from Owen's best friend John's point of view. John writes after all the events of the novel have happened and he is a cynical middle aged man. John says Owen is the reason he believes in God, but does not have a solid relationship with his religious beliefs. His religious actions are actually quite contradictory. Owen is a short little guy with a terrifying voice and is crazy smart. Owen is willing to do anything for John, including stay back a grade so he can be in the same grade as John.

It amazed me how much symbolism and motifs there are. It is a diamond mine of themes and motifs and things to think deeply about. That is the main reason why I love this book. Most novels I have read make you struggle to read between the lines, but A Prayer For Owen Meany makes it easy because all the little symbols and things are extremely important to the story. John Irving doesn't want us to miss out on any of the important little details.

This book reminded me of The Catcher and the Rye and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. All the good things from The Catcher in the Rye were put into this, and the quirkiness of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn were put into this book.

I really don't know what else to say without spoiling the whole thing, and I think I've raved quite enough! Go read this. Right now.


Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorite John Irving novels - I also really liked The Cider House Rules and The World According to Garp. I just picked up his most recent.

Care said...

We did a read-along for Owen Meany in 09 and it was a blast to chat away about the book chapter by chapter. I'm glad I read this one.