Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Review: A Prayer for Owen Meany

I spend a lot of time waiting around while I was serving jury duty, so it's not surprising that I was able to finish a book during all those long hours of "hurry up and wait."

Over the past couple years I've read a couple different novels by John Irving. The first was The World According to Garp, which is hands down one of my favorite books of all time. Then this past summer I read another one of his novels, A Widow for One Year, which was also very, very good. I just love Irving's random crazy plots and his well-written, lovable characters. And I don't know a better way to explain it except that his writing is very... SMART. At one point in the middle of Garp I realized I was reading a story within a story within a story... and still following along just fine! Considering how much I loved the first two novels, I was very excited to read A Prayer for Owen Meany.

It tells the story of John Wheelwright and his best friend Owen Meany growing up together in a small New England town during the 1950-60s. Owen is a remarkable boy in many ways; he believes himself to be God's instrument and journeys on a truly extraordinary path. Once again the settings, characters and plot was extremely interesting and well-written, but for some reason I had a much harder time getting into this book. It took me almost a month to get through, and I just never looked forward to picking it up... it seemed like more of a chore to get over with. If it hadn't been for jury duty it probably would have taken me another month to finish it. I was so disappointed!

Perhaps The World According to Garp just set such high standards for me that no other novels can ever live up to it. However, considering that I DID really like A Widow for One Year, I think I'll probably give John Irving a second chance... I hear that The Cider House Rules is really good, and I did like the movie!

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