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A Prayer for Owen Meany


by John Irving

By the author of The World According to Garp and heralded by Rich Mullins as one of his favorite books ever, I found the book a bit much. I read this book while studying for a major industry exam and thought that might be why it took me so long to get hooked by the story, but reading reviews on Amazon tell me that I'm not alone. Of the 600+ pages, it took me about 300 to get into it and only the last fifty were riveting.

Told in the first person by Owen's best friend, John Wheelwright, the story takes place in a New England/East coast prep school. Owen knows that he is on earth with a purpose and all througout the book, Irving tells you this purpose. Writing as Wheelwright, who is an English/Literature professor, Irving even tells you the he is telling you! There is much premonition in the text but the sheer volume helps this to be lost on the reader. Themes of loss and alienation are similar to Garp and Owen is scathing accurate in his depiction of the modern church and the true intent of Christianity, which is perhaps why this book appealed to Mullins. In the end, though, I did care about the characters, even if I did know what was going to happen. My main fault with this book is the liberal preaching about the Reagan era. Enough already! Overall, a decent book but I'd much rather read The World Accordiong to Garp again than this one.