In the end, I really enjoyed this book, but it took til about half -way to become really involved with the characters to the point that I cared what happened to them. But when I reached that point, I found myself returning again and again to see where they were headed. John Irving is, of course, a very skillful author but was surprised at how his skillful use of foreshadowing keeps the reader engaged without revealing the plot twists too soon. I especially enjoyed the social, religious and political commentary. I NEVER read an abridged version of a book , but found myself wondering several times if this book should have been an exception.
I've read "A Prayer for Owen Meany" at least twice in print and it's high up on my personal Top Ten best books list. The audio version brings the story to life in a way that print can't, even though the author uses all caps for Owen's speech.
As best as I can tell, I'm three or 4 years younger than Johnny and Owen, so the story brought back lots of memories. I haven't read many novels about the Viet Nam era, so I may look for more. In addition, I haven't found many novels about losing and finding one's faith that aren't preachy or sticky sweet. I liked walking with the various characters through Irving's descriptions of their struggles with faith and the church (which are now more separated than ever - "I'm spiritual but not religious).
The most obvious is the uniqueness of Owen's voice which, as I have already said, is much more effective in audio than in print. Also, I was much more aware of the "Do you remember?" refrain in audio than I was in the print version.
One of the best I've ever heard. Finding the right voice for Owen must have been extremely difficult, and maintaining it throughout the book a real challenge. Joe Barrett is a genius.
Don't skip the author interview which comes at the end of the book. I enjoyed it very much.
In some ways yes the audible version is better than the print version. This reader is excellent. It is a long book but gripping and inspiring.
Everything. I listened to this book three times in a row because it was so engaging and moving and hilarious.
This is a good read/ listen. It is intelligent, entertaining and thought provoking. It has many layers.
Just read this /listen to this book.
Yes, it is a wonderful story. I love that Joe Barrett added his own flare.
Owen of course
I would rank this as tied for my favourite audio fiction with Deliverance,
The only books that I could compare this to are other John Irving masterpieces: The World According to Garp and Cider House Rules.
It's hard to chose a favourite. Owen and his weird voice, John the best friend or even the grandmother were all so believable.
A Prayer for Owen Meany is told like a memory. Out of sequence and not all at once. Memory as fragment intermixed with correlated memories and current observations. Like harmonics. Like arpeggios. It is a story about faith from the point of view of someone without faith. The layer upon layer of odd specificity of actions and characteristics can be somewhat irksome. It's like when reading Atlas Shrugged and each retelling of story doesn't actually add anything, but underlines it again and again. We see the predestination and the all the glaring oddity. It is obvious that these are not just character traits but cogs in a specific machine. A Rube Goldberg contraption which will damage each character in a specific way. Leave familiar scars. But it is our memory so it is perhaps obvious that we would remember the man he would be and underline again and again the harmonics. The omens. I don't know exactly how I feel about this book. I love when a story is told in pieces and I can assemble them and solve the story. But there was nothing to solve here. There are specifics that elude us until the end, but the clues are remembered over and over and underlined again and again. The outcome was never in doubt. We know the end before we ever remember the beginning. I don't think John ever finds faith, but it is obvious he still tries. John is an incomplete man. He was essentially created by Owen and left incomplete. That yearning plagues the reading. It is a little too long, too many memories, then ends all at once. I imagine that is how John feels.
Absolutely. This is a wonderful story, wonderfully told, full of tears and laughter.
I loved how perfectly everything was tied together. It seemed like everything had meaning, each experience the boys had together was leading toward their crux.
Owen, definitely. It was wonderful! Definitely not an "unspeakable outrage!"
You'll get that when you listen.
This already is a movie. It's called Simon Birch.
I'd probably make a tagline of "No faith is too small" or something like that.
I picked up this book in part because I’m familiar with (and in fact a fan of) the movie based on it, Simon Birch.
Wow, are they two very different animals. The message is the same. Many of the key points are the same. But, as is true with nearly all book-to-screen adaptations, the book traverses a whole few extra dimensions the movie simply cannot touch on. I can’t go as far to say that Simon Birch ruined A Prayer for Owen Meany for me, or that now finally listening to the book ruined the movie for me. They are each something to be appreciated for their own merits. The differences are so drastic that it’s… not unrecognizable as the same story, but at least so different that it’s like comparing an apple to a pear. They’re very similar, yes, and one may be descended from the other, but one is so transformed that they’re just not easily compared anymore.
I love Simon Birch. I loved A Prayer for Owen Meany. They are two very different experiences, and both worth having.
Absolutely because the narrator WAS Owen Meany! Reading would have been too tedious to finish.
Owen was an intellectual with a heart and perseverance.
I would never have read this book, but listening to Joe Barrett made it possible and I'm pleased.
I liked the character of Owen Meany, neat guy.
I would miss the different voices, particularly Owen Meany. His was a unique voice, something that wouldn't necessarily come across reading the book.
I enjoyed this book so much that I probably will listen again.
John Irving really makes you care about what happens to his characters. The timeline sometimes jumps around, so I knew something was going to happen to a character, but I still hoped it wouldn't. I found myself worried about his fate.
How did he come up with the unique voice of Owen Meany? And his women's voices really do sound like women, even the grandmother sounds like just the sort of old lady described in the book.
Oh, no. I wanted to savor it over time.
This is my new favorite book. I wanted this to be a long audiobook because I enjoyed spending time with the characters.