CBR8 Review #138

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Yay! I’m finally getting around to reading those CBR Exchange books that I’ve lovingly admired but not cracked open on my shelf. And books are meant to be read. So, A Prayer for Owen Meany comes to me courtesy of Malin from CBR7’s Book Exchange. It’s a long read and uneven in parts, but very much worthwhile in the end. Consider this a journey that you must be willing to embark upon for the payoff to arrive.

Our journey begins with a major plot point: John Wheelwright’s mother is killed with an accidental foul baseball by his best friend, Owen Meany. This accident sets off a series of events, with Owen convinced that his destiny lies in greatness and with John reflecting, years later, on the sequence that would turn him into a Christian. The timeline takes place over the course of John’s life, with him reflecting in the present moment on his past and certain key events, not necessarily in chronological order. The book is just as much about Owen as John, and it ties together many threads at the very end of the book.

This book is a long, slow burn, but it asks many important questions of you as the reader. It challenges a lot of philosophical ideas and it uncovers the nature of belief. While there are some traits of “white male” authors that Irving falls into, the book is worth the effort. I closed the book feeling grateful that I had read it. I think it is a worthwhile effort if you are absolutely willing to be patient and wait till the very end.

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