Friday, August 8, 2008

Book Review: A Prayer for Owen Meany

I love to read. When I find a good book, all I will do for the next week is sit alone and absorb it. This week I was reading A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. It was one of the best books I have ever read in my life. It takes place in New Hampshire town, supposedly Exeter where Irving grew up. The story is told through the eyes of Johnny Wheelwright about his best friend, Owen Meany. Johnny comes from a very wealthy, old money family and Owen a blue collar granite family. Owen also is very short and has a strange voice. He thinks he is an "instrument of God" and lives his life to fulfill the duty he has been given. It is a truly beautiful book that covers their entire lives. I found parts later in Johnny's life to be a bit dull and over-political, but I laughed and I sobbed. It has one of the most powerful endings I have ever read. 
The movie Simon Birch is loosely based on the novel. I remember liking the movie when I was younger but I haven't seen it in a long time, and the book was far better than any memories I have of the movie. I highly recommend it. 
Also by John Irving: Cider House Rules, New Hampshire Hotel, and The World According to Garp. Next on my reading list is 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I started it in school in my 20th Century Lit class but we never got to finish it thanks to bad timing from Ms. Tooker. It's a hard read in that all the characters have the same name, but it's a very interesting magical realist book so I hope I enjoy it!

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