a prayer for owen meany coverAuthor: John Irving

Number of Pages: 640

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers

Release Date: 1989

“I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice—not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.

In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy’s mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn’t believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary.”


I was assigned to read this book as part of my summer work for the AP English class I’m taking this year in school. When I initially received my chunky copy, I was expecting to have to force myself to read a good majority of it for lack of interest. Quite the opposite happened, actually- I quickly realized that I couldn’t put this book down!

To put it simply, this book is unlike anything else I have ever read before. It is incredibly unique, detailed, and multi-layered, yet the writing is so well though-out that I was never confused. Perplexed? Yes. Curious? Absolutely! But there was never a point that I didn’t understand part of the plot or what the author was trying to say. This is an amazing feat for the author considering the complicated format that this novel is written in. The story is always told from John Wheelwright’s point of view (the main character), however it alternates between his perspective as a child growing up in Gravesend, New Hampshire and his view as an adult living in Toronto, Canada. It may seem confusing, but when you read the novel you immediately realize how brilliantly the story is told.

Then there is the story itself. On a fundamental level, everything about this book is outstanding: the captivating setting, the multidimensional characters, a plot that continually twists and turns in all directions. But what I really love about this book is its excellency reaches beyond the basics of a story and goes on to challenge the reader’s way of thinking. I thought just as much about religion, politics, and growing up while reading this book as I did about the actual story. This novel can be read from so many angles and viewpoints, analyzing one topic the first time and a completely different subject the next. At the end of this book my mind felt quite exhausted from all of the contemplating it had been doing, but it was a good kind of tired- the best kind, in fact. It was the kind of exhausted that only comes from productive, challenging work. As a reader, this book forces you to be fully invested in the story, and you come out on the other end with so much more than you had at the beginning.

Overall, I absolutely loved A Prayer for Owen Meany. I could go on and on about the specifics of why I feel this way, but I think it’s best for you to experience it for yourself. This novel is captivating, thought-provoking, and unyielding- even when you’re convinced you know exactly how it will end, you’re still wrong. After having read it, it’s easy to see why my teacher assigned this to us- and I’m so glad she did!

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) :0) 5 out of 5 smileys.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: ABSOLUTELY.

Have you ever read this book? What were your thoughts on it? What other books written by John Irving would you recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!





8 Replies to “Book Review: A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY”

  1. One of my all time favourites. Such a beautiful book. It was my Dad’s favourite too and I read the final passages at his funeral. It as such a special place in my heart, I’m glad you enjoyed it!


    1. I was absolutely blown away by it! And that’s so beautiful, reading the final passages at someone’s funeral. It really is written so well. Thanks for commenting!


  2. Sounds really interesting, I might have to check it out! And I get what you mean about class novels; usually I’ll dread getting the book because y’know, a teacher has picked it out so it’s probably going to be long-winded and boring and so conventional, but in the past few years, I’ve found that I’ve mostly been wrong on that account! Great review!
    -Christie xx 🙂


    1. This one definitely surprised me! I’ll have to give major props to the teacher when school starts for picking this one out. Thanks for commenting! 🙂


  3. I am currently rereading this book. I first read when I was 17. I am appreciating all the layers (knowing the ending and key events) even more this time around. It’s a brilliant novel. I have read all of Irving’s novels, and this is his best. Also worth reading are The Cider House Rules and The World According to Garp. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


    1. Yeah this is definitely one that I’ll have to reread at some point as well! Knowing the ending, I feel like I would view certain events and characters differently if I were to read it a second time.
      I’ll have to check out The Cider House Rules and The World According to Garp. Thanks for the recommendations! 🙂


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