ContemporaryA Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving

A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving


Some books change you. It’s a feeling hard to explain but if you’ve experienced it, you’ll know what I mean. I read this book in 2006, after a recommendation by my then-boyfriend. We split up not too long after and I am certain that the best thing I got out of that relationship was this book — and I am genuinely so grateful for that! 

A Prayer for Owen Meany is a novel about fate and friendship — two boys, John and Owen who grow up in a small New Hampshire town during the 50s and 60s. Their friendship doesn’t get off to a conventional start; at the beginning of the book, Irving describes how Owen accidentally kills John’s mother during a Little League game. 

I finished reading A Prayer for Owen Meany in my old bedroom at my parents’ house. I distinctly remember the feeling I had at the time — after hundreds of pages of being totally consumed by Owen (I’ve read a lot of Irving’s books and his writing is utterly, *utterly* consuming), wondering what on Earth was going to happen to this boy who in my mind has to be one of the greatest characters in modern literature, I closed the book, took a deep breath and, with the knowledge I now possessed, I went right back to the start and skimmed through the book from cover to cover. I had to read it again, then and there, knowing what I now knew.

I don’t know that you’ll love this book. I don’t know if it will change you. I don’t know if you’ll continue to turn to it, fifteen years on from when you read it. All I can say is that it did all of these things to me. There is no book I own that I am so possessive of either — as you can see, I have it twice (hardback first edition plus paperback) and still refuse to lend it to anyone because I need to have both at the heart of my bookshelf — at all times.

~ Sophie 

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