Book Review – A Prayer for Owen Meany


Title- A Prayer for Owen Meany
Author- John Irving
Published- 1989
Genre- Literary fiction
Length- 720 pages
Rating- 5/5

Synopsis- Eleven-year-old Owen Meany, playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire, hits a foul ball and kills his best friend’s mother. Owen doesn’t believe in accidents; he believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is both extraordinary and terrifying.

Review- This is such a beautiful book. The synopsis talks about the baseball incident and going in I thought that would be the focus of the book, but it is about so much more than that. This is the story of Owen Meany, his best friend John, and their time growing up together. This isn’t fast paced and action packed, but it is full of interesting and beautiful stories. The chapters have odd names and it isn’t until half way through each chapter that you understand the name, which I really liked, it’s unusual, like Owen Meany. You will finish this book loving Owen Meany, absolutely loving him.

There is quite a bit of discussion about Vietnam politics in the book, which given my age and nationality, I am not particularly interested in/knowledgable about, but I still just loved this book so much. I am also not religious and there is a reasonable amount of religious commentary, but even for me it just adds to the story.

This was on my wish list for a long time and I finally bought it with a Christmas gift card. Even then I was a bit wary, it is a long book and I am not one to DNF, so I was worried I would be stuck reading a boring book for ages. Now, however, I am scared to pick up any more Irving books in case they don’t live up to this one. This really is one of the best books I have ever read. It made me laugh and cry and I was so sad to finish it.

Has anyone else read it? Or any of his other books?


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