Some books are harder to read than others; some books have a bigger payback than others. Even though it took me 15 days to read this book and there were times I thought I'd never finish, I really enjoyed A Prayer for Owen Meany.
The main character, Owen Meany, is unforgettable. Everything about Owen grabs your attention: his size, HIS VOICE, his determination, his faith, his life and his death. Owen's best friend, the narrator, plays a supporting role in the story and, even though he seems bland, he is very necessary to the story and to Owen's life and heroism.
This book has 'classic' written all over it. Irving is an excellent writer. At one point in the book Owen tells his best friend, ". . . any good book is always in motion - from the general to the specific, from the particular to the whole, and back again. Good reading - and good writing about reading - moves the same way." Irving writes like that. From the first sentence we know that Owen was instrumental in his best friend's mother's death. The specifics come later. Early on we learn that Owen Meany is going to die, but we don't learn the specifics until the last few pages of the book.
A few passages that I made note of. There are quite a few. Don't feel like you have to read them all. I write these because I want to read over them again someday, not to bore people.
We don't enjoy giving directions in New Hampshire - we tend to think that if you don't know where you're going, you don't belong where you are.
Your memory is a monster; you forget - it doesn't. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you - and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you.
Mr. Merrill was most appealing because he reassured us that doubt was the essence of faith, and not faith's opposite.
Rev. Mr. Wiggin's sermons were about as entertaining and convincing as a pilot's voice in the intercom, explaining technical difficulties while the plane plummets toward the earth and the stewardesses are screaming.
They were a couple with a theme - sadly, it was their only theme, and a small theme, and they overplayed it. (we all know people like this, don't we?)
What do Americans know about morality? They don't want their presidents to have penises but they don't mind if their presidents covertly arrange to support the Nicaraguan rebel forces after Congress has restricted such aid; they don't want their president to deceive their wives but they don't mind if their presidents deceive Congress - lie to the people and violate the people's constitution!
THE DISCIPLES ARE STUPID - THEY NEVER UNDERSTAND WHAT JESUS MEANS, THEY'RE A BUNCH OF BUNGLERS, THEY DON'T BELIEVE IN GOD AS MUCH AS THEY WANT TO BELIEVE, AND THEY EVEN BETRAY JESUS. THE POINT IS, GOD DOESN'T LOVE US BECAUSE WE'RE SMART OR BECAUSE WE'RE GOOD. WE'RE STUPID AND WE'RE BAD AND GOD LOVES US ANYWAY. (This is Owen speaking. He always speaks in capital letters because he has a unique, gravely voice.)
This is a NY Times Newspaper heading, May 30, 1987.Thanks to my daughter, Alyson, for recommending this book. It took me a while, but I finally got to it. I can see why it's your favorite - so much symbolism, foreshadowing, meaty characters, and very good writing. There is a lot to think about with this book. And I'll be thinking about it for a long time.
Firmness on Gulf;
Plans Are Unclear