A Prayer for Owen Meany ~ John Irving

A Prayer for Owen Meany

I’m really not sure if I can finish this book. Much of the writing is very homogenous, all the sentences are the same lengthy verbose creatures that carry on and on. The story feels like I am slowly dragging my feet through a bog, and there is some humor within, but very little, and I have to try hard to see the comedy in it. Some people may say that this is why I am not a true literary critic, but I simply find no joy in verbose stories that in the end are purely satirical anyway. What is there to learn in this story that I have not already learned? Perhaps there are a number of things. However the amount of effort required for this book does not justify the outcome for me.

Owen Meany is described as a small, abject person. His physical features when he is well are the kind of features that make others feel uncomfortable (which I’m finding a rather mean way of putting it). He has a high pitched and overly loud voice, and is apparently light enough that a bunch of ten year olds can pass him around over their heads. Additionally, he believes himself to be Christ-like, and therefore the story points towards him becoming increasingly more fascinated with sacrificing himself for humanity, and feeling as though he has an impending death.

Whoop-dee-doo-da. The main character has a fascination with Owen Meany to the extent that he is willing to go so far as to narrate a very verbose 600 page story about the poor kid. Meanwhile, his mom dies, which he does not seem overly saddened by, despite her being described as a lovely lady. He begins a search for his biological father, whom he does not even know the name of. He avoids his family from the North Country, which is hard as they continue to visit him and attend the same private school which he does.

Et cetera. And that seems to be the entire book. I’m still less than halfway, and at this point I just don’t see myself putting the hours in that are necessary to complete this book. I’m not getting much out of it, I certainly don’t feel better for having read any of it, and Irving’s is not a perspective that I’m looking to understand better, so I believe this is where we part paths.

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