A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
I came to read this book almost against my will. It was very forcefully recommended by a close friend. I should preface by saying I attempted to read John Irving once before, and the effort was so unpleasant that I was quite put off by Mr. Irving. However, my friend insisted that would not be the case with A Prayer for Owen Meany, so based solely on her earnest recommendation, I added the book to my to-read list.

This novel has so many themes begging to be analyzed, that it almost feels an injustice to attempt to review it after only one reading. A reading that I readily admit was made at a breakneck pace. I borrowed a digital copy from my library, and to the best of my knowledge, digital copies can't be renewed, and unlike an actual book that you can hold onto and pay overdue fees when you return it, when a digital copy expires, it disappears from your Kindle. So I was in a hurry to finish it in the 3 weeks allotted to me (yes, it is that long and that involved that 3 weeks is too short a time). I wish I had had more time to savor it, and I almost wish I could have read it as part of a class or a reading group, to more thoroughly analyze it and get other perspectives on the meanings in the book. I should add that this is the first book I have ever read that has made me feel this way.

There is much to like in this book (a story about faith, both deep and unshakeable, and riddled with doubt, but it does not come off preachy), but I do have one complaint. It did meander a little too much. Mr. Irving's prose is absolutely beautiful, but I think the novel would have benefitted if he had pared down his descriptions a little.

In closing, I can only say that it is a shame that this novel had not yet been written in 1981, the year I was forced to read The World According to Garp. This is easily a life-changing book if presented correctly to impressionable teenagers. However, it is entirely possible it would have been quite beyond my capacity to grasp as an impatient 15/16 year old, and I would have hated it anyway. Ironically, in A Prayer for Owen Meany, Mr. Irving gives a very accurate description of what it is like when teachers force teenagers to read books that they lack life experience to truly appreciate.