Book Review: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

I cried at the end of the book. I’m not ashamed to admit that. My face got all warm and puffy, and huge tears rolled down my cheeks. If you would have asked me what I thought about the book a day before, I would have said: it is okay, a bit heavy and tedious, but greatly written with believable characters. But now I say even the tedious bits had a meaning. If you had cut the book shorter or try to compress it, I’m sure I wouldn’t have had the same emotional response I had now.

Yet, I say, for now, I wouldn’t read the book again. It took an effort to read, and why should I read about these peoples’ lives? Why should I care? (I care. Darn you John Irving.) I was also reserved about the heavy religious tone, but if I got the “message” right, I agree with John Irving. We should learn to think for ourselves and be critical of what we see and hear. And this holds with both religion and everything in life.

I liked Owen Meany and his larger-than-life voice. That voice is the whole book and a mirror what happened in the 60s and 70s. All his commentary on sociopolitical issues and religion made me smile and go over what I thought and understood about the matters. The little boy had a presence which was so big it overshadowed the main character, John Wheelwright, who was the first-person narrator. But the story of Owen Meany and the lives he touched couldn’t be told any other way.

I’m glad I read the book, and I’m glad it moved me. I understand why it’s a classic and will continue to be one. The book is Owen Meany. And if you think you don’t want to read it because of all the religious stuff, give it a chance. It might surprise you. I gave it a chance and survived unbruised but with swollen eyes.

Thank you for reading!

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