Book Reviews of A Prayer for Owen Meany

A Prayer for Owen Meany
A Prayer for Owen Meany
Author: John Irving
ISBN-13: 9780688077082
ISBN-10: 0688077080
Publication Date: 1989
Pages: 543
Rating:
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 30

4.2 stars, based on 30 ratings
Publisher: William Morrow Company
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

98 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 577 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
Excellent novel!! The novel is very profound -- touching on religion, politics, friendship, and fate. It took me some time to get through the book (it was long and sometimes tedious) and sometimes Irving's style bothered me - he likes to jump around a lot -- from Owen's and Johnny's childhood to the late 80's and back. The OWEN character is unforgettable with his extraordinary perception and VOICE. The novel takes you on a rollercoaster of emotion from humor to moments of sadness. The Vietnam War and the politics of Reagan are also key to the novel (I wonder what Irving thinks of the current situation in Iraq ?!). Overall, I would highly recommend this book -- it's well worth the time investment to read. I have read a few other Irving novels including "The Cider House Rules" (which was wonderful) and "The Hotel New Hampshire" (which I thought was so-so). I'll be reading more Irving in the future.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 150 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This was my first Irving book and at first it seemed a huge undertaking and a bit confusing, but he kept the pace up so the confused parts went by fast and eventually I understood his line of thinking and writing and ended up LOVING this book.

It is part mystery, part good ol' "back in the good old days" story-telling, with some comedy and some [just a little bit over the top] political "down memory lane" sections, thrown in for good measure.

All in all you end up wishing the book wouldn't end and amazed at his writing skills. I wished I'd discovered him [Irving] sooner.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
One of the best books I've ever read. Owen Meany is an amazing old soul and an amazing boy. This book is one of few that has made me laugh out loud...as well as cry at the end.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 52 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
"Owen Meany,the only child of a New Hampshire granite quarrier, believes he is God's instrument: he is. This is John Irving's most comic novel; yet Owen Meany is Mr. Irving's most heartbreaking character."

For once the back cover gets it 100% right...this is one of the five most beautiful books I have ever read...as I got to the end of it I was counting the pages, hoping more would magically appear, and hoping that the inevitable would not happen. They didn't, and it did, but the book is still magnificent. If you need a booster shot for your faith in humanity, this is it!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 599 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
In all these years, I had never read this book. It is on the list of "1,001 books you must read..." and it certainly belongs there! It is humorous and tragic. It is a beautiful story and I will go back and read it again, because after the surprising twists and revelations toward the end, you realize there was significance in so many things you miss the first time. Wow! Great book!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 71 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
A superlative book. Set during the Vietnam War era, it transcends that period and establishes John Irving as a major modern writer. If you don't read another book this year, you owe it to yourself to read this one.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I enjoyed this book very much for its touching and funny moments and have bought this book as a gift for friends in the past because it was such a memorable read.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
Helpful Score: 1
I very much enjoyed this book and loved learning about the life and intricacies of Owen Meany. Unfortunately my full enjoyment of the book was sullied by the prejudicial and ridiculous rantings about Ronald Reagan and the Reagan administration; hence I gave it only 3 1/2 stars. Would have been a much better book without that garbage being thrown in.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Predictably unpredictable John Irving at his best. The characters and story have stayed with me for years.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
Helpful Score: 1
John Irving is a favorie author of mine. Main character...Owen Meany is unforgettable. Will always have a piece of Owen with me. This is one of my all time favorites. KCornell
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Owen Meany speaks in CAPITAL LETTERS and so does this book. Though dated to the Reagan/Contra era, the book is still interesting and engaging twenty years later. Like many of John Irving's novels, things always seem a little off-center until the plot is resolved clearly and brilliantly. Both Owen, and his narrator, John Wheelwright, are complex, three-dimensional characters with powerful messages to deliver. Well worth reading.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
Helpful Score: 1
One of my all time favorite books. I decided to read it after I heard John Irving himself read from the book, and am so glad that I did!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
this is a good book and a fairly easy read.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 28 more book reviews
Great story and a memorable main character
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 6 more book reviews
This is a slow paced book. If you can stick with it to the end it will be one of your favorites.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 52 more book reviews
good plot, good characters. Elements of magical realism.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 79 more book reviews
Five-star writing. It's amazing how everything comes together in the end. One of the best books of all time!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 14 more book reviews
One of my top 3 favorite books of all time! Wonderful novel about coming of age and who we become. Full of angst and hope. Along the lines of a happier Catcher in the Rye!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 6 more book reviews
Irving takes the improbable and makes it real, yet again.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 6 more book reviews
The movie SImon Birch is based on this book. Very heart warming and fun but deep also. Read the book then look for the movie. Or if you've seen the movie, read the book.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 45 more book reviews
What happens when your best friend thinks that he is an instrument of God adn speaks in all capital letters? Read this very well written book to find out. It is a truly a must read and keeps you wondering what will happen to all the people in the book. This is set mainly in the 1960's during the Vietnam War, and then later during the Iran-Contra Reagan era. The novel is still relative today depsite it's setting.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 19 more book reviews
While this book is not an easy one to get through - I found myself only able to absorb about a chapter a night - it is well worth your time. John Irving always has believable (if odd) characters with flaws, quirks, and traits that we find all too common in ourselves. This is one of those books that you put down at the end, and then find yourself thinking about a lot after you've finished it. I don't know that I'd call it an "enjoyable" book - to me, an enjoyable book is one you finish all too quickly and want to reread again and again. But you will be haunted (in a good introspective sort of way) by this book.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 15 more book reviews
So descriptive, so wonderfully written that there were times I literally laughed out loud, and even cried with the characters in the story!! I had a hard time even putting the book down!! This is a MUST read!! :)
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 83 more book reviews
An astonishingly good book. Irving rarely disappoints, but this one is all anyone could ever do: a compelling story, full of the details that make Irving such a memorable storyteller.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 47 more book reviews
I absolutely love this book. It is one of my favorites. You will smile, laugh, you will cry. You will enjoy it, so I am not going to tell you about the details...just get it and read it!!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
Pure John Irving
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 7 more book reviews
An outstanding story of love and determination and how seemingly small coincidences may just be part of our predetermined fate. Highly recommended.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 4 more book reviews
Oh, if I could only have the chance to read this book again for the first time!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 335 more book reviews
Owen Meany, the only child of a New Hampshire granite quarrier, believes he is God's instrument; he is.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 28 more book reviews
I had a hard time posting this book. It's one of my all time favorites. I think it's time to give it up to someone else to enjoy
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 203 more book reviews
Owen Meany, the only child of a NH granite quarrier, believes he is Gods instrument:he is
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 4 more book reviews
My absolute FAVORITE book. Irving writes always with a hidden meaning and this book will test your faith in god and reality.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 216 more book reviews
I like John Irving alot, but I thought this book just did not live up to his typical good quality of storytelling (Cider House Rules and World According to Garp for example). I thought the premise was kind of dumb and the story just didn't grab me.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
Rich and complex, Owen Meany is a wonderfully fulfilling read! This book would be an excellent choice for a book club.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 953 more book reviews
The youthful friendship between two boys in a small New Hampshire town extends through their lives as they grow up in the Viet Nam era.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
One of the best books ever. You just cannot put this down....
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 17 more book reviews
Owen Meany, the only child of a New Hampshire granite quarrier, beleives he is God's instrument;he is. This is John Irving's most comical novel, yet Owen Meany is Mr. Irving's most heartbreaking character.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
In this story, the bext and worst of John Irving's writing style is on display. His best: the ability to craft a story that melds personal biography, politics and faith. His worst: the tendency to meander and run on at various points in the story. Having not read any other works of John Irving, I cannot say whether the worst of this book is characteristic of the author's writing style or a representation of the workings of the story narrator's mind.

On the whole, "A Prayer For Owen Meany was an enjoyable and thought-provoking experience.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 16 more book reviews
this is absolutely, the funniest, saddist, best written book that I have ever heard...I buy every copy i come across....
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 34 more book reviews
I absolutely loved this book. It was very long and took me a long time to read, but it was exceptional. I can see that John Irving is the kind of author you either love or hate....I can't wait to read my next Irving novel.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 18 more book reviews
Typical John Irving. A master story teller. I couldn,t put it down and I hated to finish it. Irony at it's best.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
I really enjoyed the book. I am a huge John Irving fan and this book didn't disappoint. The characters were well developed and had the usual Irving very human oddities.

This is a book that I would reread.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 33 more book reviews
Great book, a movie was made based on the book
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 20 more book reviews
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving



"I trust in God because of Owen Meany." -Johnny

Owen is the best friend Johnny could ask for. He's small. He's strange. He has an odd voice. And he killed Johnny's mother...

This amazing story of friendship sweeps the reader up in it's sentimentality and mysteriousness. The vastness of this novel is so overwhelmingly powerful that it is hard to find words to describe it's depth. Johnny and Owen are so deeply connected that the emotion in the book is almost palpable.

John Irving's effective use of foreshadowing and strong political references weave in and out of this friendship story to create a final scene so heartbreakingly surprising as to leave the reader almost breathless.

This book might not be for everybody, but nobody who finishes this novel will be left without feeling.
__________________________________

My favorite quote from the novel which, in a way, epitomizes what the whole book is about:

"I want to go on being a student," I told him. "I want to be a teacher. I'm just a reader," I said.
"DON'T SOUND SO ASHAMED," he said. "READING IS A GIFT."
"I learned it from you," I told him.
"IT DOESN'T MATTER WHERE YOU LEARNED IT- IT'S A GIFT. IF YOU CARE ABOUT SOMETHING, YOU HAVE TO PROTECT IT- IF YOU'RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO FIND A WAY OF LIFE YOU LOVE, YOU HAVE TO FIND THE COURAGE TO LIVE IT."
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 46 more book reviews
John Irving at his best. The book had me laughing and crying and though it started slow, half way through I could not put it down. I fell in love with Owen and I understand how everyone that knew him could.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 39 more book reviews
I love John Irving but this is one of his greatest books. The tale spans from childhood to adulthood, its a moving story with plenty of humor.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
This book was one of our neighborhood Book Club selections, and we all enjoyed it. This book inspired the movie "Simon Birch".
Really, really good.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 246 more book reviews
This book is one that will leave you thinking. I really enjoyed it.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 101 more book reviews
Moving, vibrant novel ... a must read!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 25 more book reviews
this is a great book. It is a bit odd and maybe hard to get to like at first, but it is really worth it.

Very funny and well written.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
The book was pretty good, but it was very long!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
Definately four star. I really enjoyed this book. I cared a lot about the characters and wanted to know what would happen to them, right to the end. It has a lot of humorous parts, but it tugs at your hear too. I recommend it.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
This was a great book. Moving and weirdly throught provoking, like a lot of Irving's books. I loved it.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 60 more book reviews
Owen Meany, the only child of a New Hampshire granite quarrier, believes he is God's instrument. He is.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 307 more book reviews
Another great tale from John Irving. In my opionion, the best he's written since Cider House Rules.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 47 more book reviews
Extraordinary, original, bizarre, funny & painful - definately a classic.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 7 more book reviews
Yes, I know it's long, but persevere through the long parts and you'll be glad you saw it through. It's a moving story.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 51 more book reviews
An extraordinary and terrifying happening to the little boy whose foul ball kills his best friend's mother. He doesn't believe in accidents; he believes he is God's instrument.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 54 more book reviews
This is probably my favorite book of all time. It was hard to get through, but that made it worth it to me.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 31 more book reviews
One of my all time favorite books.

This book was my introduction to John Irving. After I finished I went and read many others. But in my mind - this one has remained the best.

Great plot. Easy, quick read. Great characters.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
love this story - great characters.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 2 more book reviews
One of my favorite books! I bought a hardcover version so I'm giving this one up.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 203 more book reviews
A meticulously detailed study of a man who can't seem to direct his own life.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 62 more book reviews
I really enjoyed reading John's story about growing up with Owen Meany, but every time he transitioned from the past to the present, from adventures in Gravesend to his diary in Toronto, I got lost. Well, not lost - it is more like, I got interrupted. Distracted. The story's spell was snapped.

But wow. What a story. What an engrossing, confusing character Owen Meany is. His devotion to the Wheelwright family was touching, but also sad; it seemed he abandoned his own family to surround himself in a new one. Given Owen's beliefs about himself and his family, there is little surprise that he was so deeply religious, but his distaste for his family seemed out of place to the rest of his character. His spiritual devotion is something I admire in him, and so he becomes inspirational, because to have faith that strong is something I ought to strive for with greater dedication.

Owen's certainty and sense of purpose are an excellent contrast to the narrator John, who lacks both. John's just as memorable as Owen, because he is just so normal that anyone could recognize tan aspect of him within themselves.

The plot twists and turns, with little mysteries that pop up again and again; all is resolved by the end of the book, but not often as you would expect. Great book.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 11 more book reviews
Funny, but poignant.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 121 more book reviews
Best Seller, liked it
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 65 more book reviews
Right up there with Cider House Rules. A tad long, but worth finishing.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 9 more book reviews
This wasn't one of my favorite reads. In order to enjoy a story, I have to find characters I like, admire, or just feel compassion for. I found none of these qualities in any of the characters. I didn't like Owen Meany at all. After hearing other comments from the Book Club I understand why they did like it but I still didn't.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 34 more book reviews
This is THE BEST John Irving novel of all time -- a must-read, most DEFINITELY!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 22 more book reviews
Owen Meany, the only child of a New Hampshire granite quarrier, believes he is God's instrument; he is.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 94 more book reviews
One of my favorites.
I love John Irving
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 37 more book reviews
My favorite John Irving. I love the main character!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 10 more book reviews
If you like Irving, you'll love this book! If you've never read Irving, this is a good one to start on. Lots of heart, and the ending is so emotional, in a good way. I love how even the smallest details fit together and have a purpose by the end.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 243 more book reviews
In my most humble opinion, his second best book after Cider House Rules, just a wonderful book!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 12 more book reviews
One of Irving's best. A wonderful read.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 21 more book reviews
This is a gret joh nIrving book. Weird and intriguing at the same time.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 657 more book reviews
Amazon.com
Owen Meany is a dwarfish boy with a strange voice who accidentally kills his best friend's mom with a baseball and believes--accurately--that he is an instrument of God, to be redeemed by martyrdom. John Irving's novel, which inspired the 1998 Jim Carrey movie Simon Birch, is his most popular book in Britain, and perhaps the oddest Christian mystic novel since Flannery O'Connor's work. Irving fans will find much that is familiar: the New England prep-school-town setting, symbolic amputations of man and beast, the Garp-like unknown father of the narrator (Owen's orphaned best friend), the rough comedy. The scene of doltish the doltish headmaster driving a trashed VW down the school's marble staircase is a marvelous set piece. So are the Christmas pageants Owen stars in. But it's all, as Highlights magazine used to put it, "fun with a purpose." When Owen plays baby Jesus in the pageants, and glimpses a tombstone with his death date while enacting A Christmas Carol, the slapstick doesn't cancel the fact that he was born to be martyred. The book's countless subplots add up to a moral argument, specifically an indictment of American foreign policy--from Vietnam to the Contras.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 12 more book reviews
This is a wonderful book. It made me laugh out loud and at times feel very saddened. Irving does a great job with the characters in this book.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 113 more book reviews
Could not finish. Has a tedious beginning with poorly developed characters. I set it down, picked up another book, and did not go back.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 10 more book reviews
Loved this book.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 19 more book reviews
I would give this 4 out of 5 stars. It is my favorite John Irving book, and I highly recommend it.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 296 more book reviews
Irving's books are really good. I liked the "Ciderhouse Rules" better, but this one is good, too.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 140 more book reviews
This is one of Irving's best books...Owen will steal your heart with laughter and tears.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 25 more book reviews
a marvelous experience! Full of wisdom, wit, humor, revelations of the human spirit. Irving loves words and sounds and strange situation. In this book he certainly is the top of his form. It is an allegory or parable of a strong religious experience.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 6 more book reviews
This story will tug at your heart strings. A MUST read! John Irving weaves a special and moving tale of little boy. Wonderful!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 21 more book reviews
Humorous, strange, poignant. Good read!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 2 more book reviews
I read only the first 2 chapters. It was like reading a case study in psychiatry, now that I'm retired, I' don't want to read any more of those. The capital letters used for Owen felt like he was yelling at me. To me, yelling represents anger and violence, so I did not appreciate it. Way too much detail. I'm not going to read the rest of it.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
Owen Meany is a very strange but lovable character. This book is a must read. I don't usually read books twice, but I've read this at least 3 times, love it, love it, love it! Whenever I'm asked what my faorite book is I must say, "A Prayer for Owen Meany." Shows the true spirit of forgivness and love.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 51 more book reviews
This is my favorite book of all time!!!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 12 more book reviews
An awesome book.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 8 more book reviews
excellent!
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 133 more book reviews
Not a John Irving fan, but I made it through this one OK.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 64 more book reviews
I've read most all of John Irvings books and this is one of his best. Have even watched the movie 2 or 3 times, and I rarely want to see a movie after I've read the room.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
I had to read this for class in high school. Slightly inappropriate, but an alright book. This copy has some penciled notes periodically throughout the text because I had to write journal entries.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 12 more book reviews
This is brand new because I got it as a gift-- but I've already read it!! It's a classic...
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Owen Meany, the only child of a New Hampshire granite quarrier, believes he is God's instrument. He is.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on + 18 more book reviews
I did not read this book.
reviewed A Prayer for Owen Meany on
Perhaps my favorite Doctorow. Great characters and a riveting story. Movie wasn't bad either.