Why you Should read A Prayer for Owen Meany

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Read it!!!!

Recently for AP Lit we were assigned a project to briefly review a quality novel that we could write about on the AP exam, and I decided to review John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany which I read last year for the AP Lang choice novel. I remember loving the book when I read it, and that’s why I chose to review it, but it seems I forgot just how much I love A Prayer for Owen Meany, and I am here to enlighten all of you future Owen Meany fans as to why it’s definitely worth it to read all 627 pages of the novel. The book follows best friends John Wheelwright and Owen Meany growing up in Gravesend, New Hampshire in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and as the book covers 20 plus years, we really get invested in John and Owen and the host of other Gravesend characters. It’s both uplifting and sad, serious and funny, and overall you’ll feel different by page 627 of the novel. Without a doubt, it’s my favorite book I’ve read in the past four years.

First off, A Prayer for Owen Meany is hilarious. Owen, nicknamed “the granite mouse,” is a tiny boy who speaks in ALL CAPS, controls every situation he encounters, and believes that he is god’s instrument on earth. For example, Owen becomes known as “the voice” when he writes provocative articles for The Grave, Gravesend Academy’s student newspaper. When writing an expose on a school dance he starts with (in all caps to emphasize his aggressive, nasally voice), “IT’S HARD TO KNOW, IN THE WAKE OF THE DISTURBING DANCE-WEEKEND, WHETHER OUR ESTEEMED PEERS OR OUR ESTEEMED FACULTY CHAPERONES SHOULD BE MORE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES… IT IS PUERILE FOR YOUNG MEN TO DISCUSS WHAT DEGREE OF ADVANTAGE THEY TOOK OF THEIR DATES… BUT IT IS HARD TO HARD TO SAY WHETHER THIS BOORISH BEHAVIOR IS WORSE OR BETTER THAN THE GESTAPO TACTICS OF OUR PURITAN CHAPERONES.”  To elaborate more on the random humor of Owen Meany, John (Owen’s best friend) receives a taxidermied armadillo from his step father that Owen immediately becomes somewhat obsessed with. When John goes out of town for the weekend Owen says “YOU BETTER NOT TAKE THE ARMADILLO WITH YOU… IT IT’S ALL ALONE HERE ONE OF THE MAID’S MIGHT DO SOMETHING STUPID- OR THERE COULD BE A FIRE… IT HAS A VERY DELICATE NOSE.”

But A Prayer for Owen Meany is more than just funny, Irving includes religion, growing up, the Vietnam Draft, politics, and death in the novel as well. Owen and John grow up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and Irving uses the book as a way to criticize American Politics at the time.

So if you’re looking for a great book to read, look no further than A Prayer for Owen Meany.