Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Prayer for Owen Meany

by John Irving

This is a beautiful story about John Wheelwright and his best friend Owen Meany. The book is divided in two parts. The first part is about the boys’ growing up in Gravesend, New Hampshire. The second part is about the present that in the book was 1980.

Owen is a small, underdeveloped boy with “wrecked voice” and weirdly luminous skin. He is very fond of John’s mother who adores Owen. She even convinces his parents to let him attend the elite Gravesend’s Academy. John, who lives with his mom and grandmother, doesn’t know who his father is, but hopes that one day his mom will tell him. All his hopes are shattered one day when Owen kills her accidently with a baseball. However John and Owen still remain close friends even after this tragic event. Owen believes that everything in life happens for a reason and that his faith in God will help John to find his father.

After John’s mom died, Owen wins the role of baby Jesus and the Christmas ghost in a Christmas play at the amateur theater. Owen shocks everyone in the middle of one of the performances, when he sees his parents in the audience; he demands that they leave… He was very good as a scary Christmas ghost in A Christmas Carol, but on the final night of the performance he sees a vision; a vision of his own gravestone with the date of his death. He is convinced that the vision will become true. As Time passes he sees other visions which give more and more details of his own death. Owen starts to believe that he is an instrument of God.

When the boys were old enough they begin attending Gravesend’s Academy. Owen was an odd boy who was physically fragile, but reading the book you can see how strong he was mentally. You can easily imagine that Owen would be the boy that everybody makes fun of, but instead you find he was somewhat of an authority for all the other boys at the school. He had a column, called “The Voice”, in the school’s paper, but shortly before graduating he was expelled for helping students making fake IDs out of their draft cards.

This was a weird story, funny and sad; extremely vividly written. John Irving is a master of words. This novel is his most autobiographical. He, like John in the book, lived in New Hampshire, didn’t know his real father and even his stepfather was a professor at the University. This was my first book from Irving’s works and it’s still my favorite. The author is such a talented story teller that in one page he makes you laugh and in the next page he can make you cry. This was an amazing book, I know it’s a favorite of many people; you can’t go wrong by choosing this novel. This is a thick book (over 600 pages), but it’s fast, easy and very enjoyable an unforgettable read. This is one of those books that you don’t want to end.

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