Reviews of Prayer for Owen Meany, a (1989)
Review by hyper7 (2007-02-20)
One of my favourites ever. I will never forget THE VOICE. The characters of Hester and Owen are some of the best developed I have ever read, I feel like I know them personally!
The political speeches (thoughts, more accurately) of Johnny is somewhat boring, but it does fit in the storyline and character.
It takes awhile to read, but definitely worth reading!
Review by SlowRain (2006-01-14)
This is the first book that I have read by John Irving, and it definitely won't be my last. The story is a coming of age tale told by Johnny Wheelwright about his life and the life of his best friend Owen Meany, an unusually small boy with a warped voice. It starts from when they were 11 years old and carries on until they are in their mid-20's.
This is not your typical novel, one that starts with an issue and carries that issue through until completion. Rather, it is a collection of, what seem like, random incidents in these two boys' lives. It is definitely character building at its finest, but sometimes at the expense of forward movement in the story. However, for those who are patient, the ending is one of the greatest examples of "tying things together" that I have ever seen. Even if there is something you don't fully understand, or even agree with, all will be explained in the end.
The novel is obviously about friendship, but also delves deeply into faith/doubt and destiny, as well as America's involvement in Vietnam, the peace movement, and even American Foreign Policy in the late 80's (when the book was written).
I found it to be slow at first, and the jumping between present day and the past may take a bit to get used to. If I remember correctly, the flashbacks in the beginning aren't even linear. But all of that is handled skillfully by the author, whose extensive narrative is nothing short of spectacular. He takes the time to tell us what is going on, and gives us a detailed analysis of everything. However, the last 200 pages really gripped me and I devoured it quite quickly.
There wasn't much to take away from my enjoyment of the book. I felt it was too long, considering how slowly the beginning progresses compared to how quickly the ending pulls you. In fact, if the boys hadn't been getting older, there would have been little to advance the story in the early chapters. I also disagree with the author's view of modern day miracles, and to anyone, such as Owen, being qualified for such lofty praise. However, taken as a fictional story, it shouldn't be too much trouble for anyone's belief system.
I wouldn't recommend this book to just anyone. It is certainly for someone who reads at a higher level than average. It's more for someone who is patient and loves long, flowery narratives. It's definitely not a thriller or an adventure novel, and probably won't be appreciated by those who only read such novels. It requires an open mind and a love of the written language... and a lot of time.
Review by neko (2005-07-14)
This is my all time favorite book. I re-read it about once a year and it never affects me any less.
An incredibly different and sweet story about real friendship, with very likeable and unique characters, this is more than worth reading. The story stays with me for days every time I finish it.
Definitely Irving's best work.
Review by g3d (2003-03-10)
One of my all-time favorites - you cannot help but be entranced and moved by this fantastic and heartbreaking story of redemption and friendship.