A Prayer for Owen Meany (Deluxe Modern Classic)

A Prayer for Owen Meany (Deluxe Modern Classic)

by John Irving


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A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick

I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice—not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.

In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062284853
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/22/2014
Edition description: Deluxe
Pages: 656
Sales rank: 582,169
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 2.00(d)

About the Author

John Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times—winning in 1980 for the novel The World According to Garp. In 1992, Irving was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He won the 2000 Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules. In 2001, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Irving's most recent novel is In One Person (2012).



Date of Birth:

March 2, 1942

Place of Birth:

Exeter, New Hampshire


B.A., University of New Hampshire, 1965; also studied at University of Vienna; M.F.A., Iowa Writers' Workshop, 1967

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Prayer for Owen Meany 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 508 reviews.
BANCHEE_READS More than 1 year ago
I did not find Owen Meany to be an immediately lovable character, but his is a character that grew on me. By the end of the book, when one truly understands what Owen was about, it becomes clear just how strong both the book and the character turn out to be. By then, all the details make sense, the meaning behind each chapter becomes clear, and you are left with the feeling that you have finished a truly remarkable book. This book truly is absolute perfection in a novel. There's not much of that in the modern writing world. The first few chapters are slow going, but not to delay the miraculous end ... only to set the oh so important stage and plot. And oh, what a stage, what a cast of characters, what dialogue and New England settings. Treat yourself to a true modern day masterpiece. By the end, you'll be sobbing, turning back pages saying, "Why? Why? This can't be," while knowing it HAD to be. I wish I could shake the hand that has written such an amazing tale. A Prayer for Owen Meany is undoubtedly one of the best books I have ever read. The six hundred page novel is filled to the brim with unexpected sarcasm and incredible hilarity. The novel, told from the point of view of John Wheelrwight, tells the story of an unnaturally small and high-pitched boy named Owen Meany. Throughout the story, John Irving made this character, a character so complex and so riveting, to be one of the most incredible protagonists American literature has ever seen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I finished this book just today and I want to go back to the beginning and read it all over again! A Prayer for Owen Meany joins my list of all time favorites. It is a book to be savored and one I never wanted to end. This is a book about faith, friendship, destiny and the meaning of life. Are the seemingly random incidents in life truly random, or does everything happen for a reason? Owen Meany knows the answer to that question. Once again John Irving has created a world full of characters you will love and never forget, a story that will make you laugh and make you cry. But most of all A Prayer for Owen Meany will touch your heart and make you believe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book can definitely be described as a true novel. I have shared it with so many relatives and friends that I had to buy a second copy (paperback) because my first one was falling apart. I found the story brought out a fact I learned many years ago in grade school. Our seventh grade teacher pointed out that each of us was put on this earth for a very special reason and Owen Meany brought that fact back into my life. I am very grateful that John Irving wrote and shared this novel with us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I was a young girl, I had a night light by my bed. Long after my fear of the dark had passed, I would pretend to still be afraid so that I could use the light to read books when I was supposed to be sleeping. Now I am at a different life stage in a different setting, but this book was worth buying a new reading lamp for. It was also worth staying up late with a aching neck and sore eyes just to finish another chapter. The characters in this book, and the relationship between them and God, evoked deep respect and reflection from this reader. The ending of the novel was satisfying because one can trace the closing events to earlier ones and realize that just as God had a plan within the plot, Irving had a plan as well.
bella-morte More than 1 year ago
This is one of my all time favorite books! I fell in love with the characters like I do with all of John Irvings' characters. He writes so well of broken people. Which in my opinion we all are to one degree or another. I am not a religious person but still loved this story. I have loaned it to friends and family and all but one person fell in love with this book as well. This book is funny as hell and sad all at the same time. You find yourself laughing at and crying with these characters while they forge thier way through thier lives.
songcatchers More than 1 year ago
A Prayer for Owen Meany is a poignant story about a very special boy named...Owen Meany. Our narrator in this book is John, Owen's best friend. The events in this book really get rolling when Owen accidentally kills John's mother. The wheels are set in motion for Owen, who believes that everything happens for a reason. Owen also believes he is "God's instrument". Owen believes there is a special purpose for his tiny size and unusual voice. This, John's telling of his time with Owen, is a riveting read. The narration goes back and forth from their childhoods and adolescence together, as young adults during the Vietnam era, and John living in Canada in the '80's. Irving has such a unique writing style of going back and forth giving little hints here and there of what's to come with the characters. Long before we get to the very last page, we realize that everything that we've read was relevant and it all comes together in the end. Owen is such a unique and unforgettable character. I'm already looking forward to re-reading A Prayer for Owen Meany.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book. The middle of it seemed a little sluggish but it all comes together in such a way, near the end, that it all makes sense. Irving devotes alot of time developing the characters so you really have a sense of who they are. My first reading of anything by John Irving but certainly will read others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
all I can say is wow. The best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading this book years ago it has become and remained my favorite novel. The story is so engaging and every word becomes important to the revealing ending in such a way that you can hardly believe how intracite a weave Irving has created. I truly feel that this book is a miracle of faith, and one that anyone can find solace in no matter how strong or weak their personal faith might be.
ChristinaWA More than 1 year ago
I read this book 11 years ago, and it still sticks in my mind. I HATED the book at first, but I am one of those people who has to finish what she reads. I am so glad I did. By the end of the book, I was thinking OMG all capital letters lol. Everything came together and made this a fantastic read if you just stick it out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book for english my final year of high school. Irving does a brilliant job of bringing Owen to life. A very moving story that leaves you not wanting to put the book down..
Honeybunches_of_Oates More than 1 year ago
Owen Meany is a very intriguing character. As you begin to read the novel, Owen is discovered to have many peculiar traits including his short stature and loud, nasal voice. As the plot develops, and the characters around Owen mature, its very interesting to watch as Owen stays the same. By the end of the book, you will be so enraptured by the masterful creation of Owen Meany that you will be upset to lose him. There are so many twists and exciting adventures in this novel that make John Irving's novel an excellent read.
Kara1012 More than 1 year ago
This book is probably one of my favorites. Owen Meany is probably one of my favorite characters in literature - the plot moves slowly at times, but the novel has a great overall meaning and depth. This is a slow read, so make sure you have time! But it's definitely worth it - a book you won't forget.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always finish books no matter how bad they are but I couldn't finish this one. At first I enjoyed the endearing and sometimes funny, sometimes sad story of Owen Meany told through the eyes of his 11 year old best friend. But this book is particulary long and about halfway through the story of Owen Meany began to be pointless and boring. The author also hates America and couldn't keep his political views out of his book. One reviewer stated this book was an assigned classroom read. I find that appalling!! When this book began to be a chore to read I finally gave up. Some reviews compared this to 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. I loved that book. This is not even close. Unless you've had the misfortune of being assigned to read this take my advise and don't.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I adore this book. The characters are wonderful and the denouement is breathtaking. It will stay with you; I read it years ago and have never forgotten. Don't miss it. Other faves include The God of Small Things; Cutting For Stone; Hunting and Gathering; She's Come Undone; just to give you an idea of the literary company I keep. If you like Twilight or that Shades of Gray smut you probably won't like this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like to read but I don't make enough time for it. Shortly after it first came out, several friends of mine told me about Owen Meany, one of them saying it was the best book he had ever read. I had a few days off work and thought I would give it a shot. Wow. It was unbelievable. Once I got into it, about 50 pages or so, I couldn't put it down. There were parts of it that had me laughing out loud. Then there parts that truly stirred something deep down inside of me. By the end, when it was all coming together, as the last few pages began taking me to the close, the tears started rolling down my face. I've never experienced that with any book I've ever read. Closing the cover, I honestly knew I had just experienced something powerful. I remember growing up in small-town Indiana, and I knew someone in 2nd grade - Ralph. Ralph wore braces on his legs, like Forrest Gump. But he always wanted to race. Everybody beat him, everybody picked on him. Every now and then I would race Ralph, and I would let him win. I remember lying in bed at night, the hall light shining through the crack in the door, and I would think about Ralph. I could only imagine what was going through Ralph's head as he lay in his bed - how could he possibly look forward to tomorrow, another day of abuse that only 2nd graders can dish out. I remember crying, thinking about Ralph. Owen Meany took me back there to those days. I told my roomate at the the time right after I read Owen Meany - he, too, had the same reaction. He would come out of his room laughing hysterically telling me what had just happened, and then head back to continue on the journey. He, too, finished the book in a couple of days. So unusual for both of us back then - but this was unlike any book we had ever read. A wonderful book - filled with laughs, soaring in spirit, triumphant in so many ways, overflowing with heart, and not afraid to pack a punch. I can't recommend this book enough. It still sits on my book shelf. I can't wait to read it again in the months and years ahead.
Luli81 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A complex novel that tries to describe what faith is through the eyes of a remarkable child, Owen Meany. I'm atheist, but this story moved me to tears and something stirred inside me. I liked it !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John Irving is a master story teller. Funny, engaging, touching, and characters that stay in your heart. Owen Meany is one of those characters you will never forget.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have come to love John Irvings writing style. .. While, adult themed, it definitly makes you think ! I highly recommend this book. It is great, and i love how it is written ! I will read this again. Now I am off to get another Irving book !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Initially i was thinking how many pages does it take to tell the story of Owen Meany?? However, the writing is so good that I couldn't put it down. I feel like I know Owen and Johnny personally. I thought I would be sad at the end but it was so awesome how it shows how God uses us and directs our footsteps and all we have to do is stay faithful. Or as Owen says "faith takes practice" . I would highly recommend this book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story is poignant, funny, joyous and entertaing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The movie Simon Birch was nothing compared to this fantastic story. A must read.
PeteSH More than 1 year ago
A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of those books that holds a very special place in your heart after your done with it. It's funny and smart read that will make you think. All the characters are memorable and as quirky as they can be. Owen Meany is one the best written characters in literature. He has the wisdom of the adult with the boyish charm that keeps him likable. Every detail that Irving writes has a meaning that you do not see coming. It will be a challenge not to cry at the fantastic ending to a fantastic book. I highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my all time favorite books! The novel that introduced me to Irving-many novels later, it's still my favorite.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
A beautifully crafted coming of age story of two boys with a purpose! Owen Meany was an unusual boy at least that is how his friends would refer to him. Growing up, he had some disadvantages that others didn't. For one, his voice. Those who heard him would often say his voice could easily get on your nerves. It was child-like, soft and sounded like a cartoon character. In fact it could be said you could tell it was Owen talking just by the sound of his voice. Because it was so low, you either had to be close enough to hear it or ask him to speak louder, and that is exactly what Johnny Wheelwright, his best friend would ask him to do. Johnny had Owen's voice down pat, and could imitate him if the need should arise, such as reminding his grandmother who Owen was. Being nearly 100 years old, the only way she could remember was when Johnny imitated Owen's voice. Then she would cover her ears and acknowledge that yes, she did remember who he was. Another disadvantage poor Owen had was he was very small in stature. So small and so lightweight that in school whenever the teacher stepped out of the room, his classmates would take turns lifting him high over their heads and pass him around the class. This, Owen did not like. His change would fall out of his pockets, baseball cards meticulously sorted would become mixed up, and even though they would give everything back to him, he was not happy. In fact, anyone who met Owen, had a desire to pick him up, even parents. Yet one fateful day would change forever how people perceived Owen and it would change how Johnny viewed God. That would be the day when Owen Meany hit a baseball and killed Johnny's mom. In the latest novel, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, the reader is taken back to 1953 with a unique accident would forever change the lives of Johnny Wheelwright and Owen Meany and take them on a journey through their lives. What happens through this unique blend of storytelling in its finest is that Owen sees God in everything, big and small. Even the accident of Johnny's mother who Owen loved dearly is defined by Owen. In fact by the time you get to the end, you, the reader will realize that God is present in so many ways throughout, and you will get one of those "Ah ha!" moments at the end. I received this book compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and LOVED this one! If you loved The Cider House Rules or The World According to Garp, then you will love this one as well since John Irving is also the author of those literary masterpieces. From the first sentence until the last, John masterfully crafts this story to engage the reader and become an advocate for Owen throughout the whole novel. While it hurts to see him picked on in so many ways growing up, you can see that God uses everything that happens in our lives for good and this is Owen's story of how that happens. I highly recommend this book to those who are looking for a great feel good book with purpose and John delivers! I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars.