Eclectic, cross-genre mood reader (but of late, mostly erotica, romance & para/UF—including m/m & ménage). At times, the realities of life & work tend to dictate how UNreal a world I choose for an escape.
Fair warning: I may walk like a lady but I cuss like a salty sailor. ^.~
Note: Originally posted on Amazon & GR on 9 Sept 2012 (minor edits made). Seems fitting that this be the first of my reviews to be removed from GR because unlike later ones, I included an anecdote which makes this book a bit more memorable to me.
For me, a book transcends the ordinary and becomes a classic not so much because the general consensus deems it so, but because there is something about the story which speaks to each reader in a different way every time that it is read (and re-read). The very first sentence of “A Prayer for Owen Meany” provides the reader with a hint of things to come:
“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.”
― John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany (Ballantine Books, 1989)
“A Prayer for Owen Meany” hooked me at first read in 1989 (how not with an opener like that?), but more so with each subsequent read over the years as maturity and experience made me critique the book over and over. There are so many reviews here that I won’t go into the plot or the characters. I will only say that this book is worth reading at least once, least of which for the memorable character of Owen Meany, even if the reader ultimately doesn’t connect with the story itself. (After all, the “professional” reviews following its publication weren’t universally positive. See, e.g., Alfred Kazin’s March 12, 1989 NYT review.)
Depending on the reader, Owen Meany can be read lightly as a coming-of-age or friendship story, or a bit deeper for its questioning on faith and the notion of predestination, as well as the socio-political issues raised by the Vietnam War. Most younger readers may find it difficult to relate to the divisiveness of the Vietnam War era but perhaps like me, they could use the first Persian Gulf War (aka “Operation Desert Storm”)—but more apropos, the second Gulf War (aka “Operation Iraqi Freedom”)—as some form of modern reference (albeit without the same level bitterness).
BTW, a personal aside... I first read “A Prayer for Owen Meany” after seeing it on my older brother’s desk. Why? Because what was my college jock brother doing with a John Irving book?! (LOL. It’s been so long now that I don’t remember how he ended up with it.) Funnily enough, that borrowed paperback never went back to college with my bro; it became so dog-eared that I bought him a lovely trade paperback copy as a guilty replacement. Somehow, that copy ended up in my best friend’s hands and never came back. I then bought new trade paperbacks for both him and me. A house fire later and I finally caved in and bought the ebook version. Sure, it’s practical and saves space but somehow, it’s just not the same. I see another hardcopy in my future... the book is that special to me.