Balanced, important, effectual.
The scene in the "trailer park." Owen comments that this is what America is becoming, and I agree.
When Owen is kicked out of Grave's End.
Owen, of course, though I very much liked Owen's father as well.
I should have read this novel years ago. It was an assigned reading in High school and I was a terrible student. If I had read it then, I wonder how it would have affected me, or if I would have seen what my teacher was trying to show me.
Absolutely… such a great story and very enjoyable to listen to.
I didn't want the story to end!
Mom of Twins
I loved the two main characters Johnny Wheelwright the narrator and Owen Meany the main character.
Owen's voice is a key plot device and it couldn't have been better executed. This performance is outstanding. It added richness and depth to a great story.
This book was slow. It never really picked up. I was always waiting for it to get started. And I have to say... John Irving repeats himself a lot about small details. He really repeats himself... so this book could've been cut in half. So 1/2 the book was time well spent.
Owen Meany... the character and how we was read was great! I also liked the main character's search for his real father... and he that sub-plot does pay off. All the God-stuff was the least interesting. There was just too much God-stuff.
Joe Barrett was great. I kept getting bored with the book and then Joe Barrett would read Owen's voice and I would just smile and continue on.
I don't really support the idea of abridged books, but this one I would recommend an abridged version. I just message audible about carrying both versions and when you purchase one you get both.
I liked this book, but boy am I glad to be done with it. I've read some really long books... 50 hours... and this one feels like 50 hours even though it's only 24.
This is a book that I started reading about 5 times in the past and for some reason never made it all the way through. I think John Irving is a great writer and glad that I gave it another go. It is a wonderful book. The narration is amazing. The narrator's interpretation of Owen Meany's voice could not be more spot-on. One thing that is great about this book is that you think you know what is going on -- but do you? You have to listen to the entire book to get the full story. Well written (of course) and some interesting turns -- the definition of a good story. And one more thing -- the last 20 minutes of the recording is an interview with John Irving about the book. It has spoilers in it, but it is almost worth listening to before hearing the book. It really makes John and Owen even more interesting.
I *love* this book and if you haven't ever read it, I recommend listening or reading. What bothered me about this likely won't bother you at all.
For me, having read it and loved it, he didn't really capture Owen Meany's voice, which for me, leaned closer to a "Simon Birch" interpretation. Because this is such a huge, signature element of the novel, it's distracting. The rest is great, though.
John Irving weaves a series of complex issues into a captivating book. As the story unravels all of the elements come together to a final climax. There are so many leading events that keep you fully engaged in the story until the very end.
John Wheelwright, Owen Meany's best friend, is my favorite character. This character does a wonderful job of explaining Owen's beliefs and behaviors and relating them to how they are perceived by the other characters in the book. I also love the way John questions his own beliefs in light of Owen Meany's truths.
I enjoyed John Wheelwright the most. While Owen Meany's character is captivating, I found his voice to be irritating at times, especially in the beginning. In hindsight, when you learn the truth behind his strange voice, you can better appreciate its purpose.
I could never listen to this book in one sitting because it is quite long and it benefits from taking a break every now and again to reflect on the story as it unfolds. However, as soon as I had finished it, I started re-listening from the beginning to revisit all of the subtle nuances within the story that build toward the wonderfully satisfying ending.
Having read so many books it is often difficult to find one that is not formulaic. John Irving has done a wonderful job of writing a remarkable story that also delivers many non-traditional observations on some very sensitive issues. I loved this book and can hardly wait to read another of John Irving's literary works.
The audio performance adds to the book.
I hear a bit of Garrison Keillor in Lake Woebegone Days in this book, in the element of whistful recollection of a (completely?) fictional past, infused with a good measure of wit. A Prayer for Owen Meany is a modern day Myth, both spiritually and intellectually engaging, with memorable characters and lovely prose. Just try to forget grandmother or Owen Meany! In it's own way, it is a modern Gospel replete with a nativity scene (smirk), miracles, prophecy, paternal and maternal lineage/ identity, death, relationship, and personal spiritual transformation. Other themes include society and class, memory, father/son conflict, morality, mentors, magic weapons, friendship and coming of age, and certainly not least: mortality (indeed, the town is called Gravesend!).
My only criticisms are a) the sometimes meandering nature of the plot, (but then that is true of middle aged to elderly people reflecting on the past and it gives an element of realism in this otherwise mythological story and perhaps this criticism is more a problem with my own impatience than with the story), and b) the death of the mother, which itself seems to be an American literary/ film obsession, in my opinion. I'd really like a modern classic with an unwed or otherwise modern mother/ non-virgin female who does not need to be killed to be redeemed.
I found the protagonist's cousins and grandmother extremely funny.
I both laughed and cried, and was engaged from the first sentence.
Definitely in my list of favourite books.
The characters are well developed in the story. But, let's face it, Joe Barrett's portrayal of Owen's Meany's voice adds an extra dimension to the story that's just missing in print.
The way John's and Owen's childhood lives are portrayed is so "dead on" with reality. Kids have always had to deal with bullies, fault-ridden parents, well-meaning but clueless adults, and what life has dealt them. The dialog between the characters seemed truthful. Not made more or less than it really might have been.
Do you have faith?
I bought this book because it was the third offering in a "buy two, get one free" sale by Audible. Wow, did I luck out! It's now up near the top of the list of my personal favorites.
The characters are so normal and yet extraordinary because the writing is so fine, the characters so keenly drawn with affection and compassion, and the time period was so well depicted that the reader/listener feels as if they are there.
The narration is superb, the vocalization of the various characters is particularly well done.
I adore the movie "Simon Birch" which is a film adaptation rather loosely based on this story. Upon raving about it to a friend, he said, "You should read the original." I've intended to do so for many years, but feared it could not compare to the beauty and depth of "Simon Birch". I was so wrong. "Simon Birch" is fantastic. This is even more moving, even greater depth.