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A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

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Essay title: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Book Review

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

A Prayer For Owen Meany, written by John Irving is one of those books that gets you hooked early on and won’t let go, even after you have finished it. Irving’s character John Wheelwright tells the story through narration from the present day (1987), looking back to his New Hampshire childhood and youth from a self-imposed Canadian exile. The novel relates the story of the friendship between John Wheelwright, and the diminutive Owen Meany.

Throughout the book, Irving introduces problems and mysteries that must solved or answered. In the first chapter we must discover how Owen Meany killed narrator John Wheelwright’s. Later we are interested in John’s sexual interest in his cousin Hector, the identity of John’s father, in whether Owen will get to attend Gravesend Academy, in how Owen will die. Irving keeps tantalizing us by gradually revealing clues to these mysteries.

The characters and their evolution are presented in an extremely engaging manner. Owen Meany, early on is presented as being extremely frail, barely able to survive, and surprisingly evolves to be tough and courageous. Through the third person narration of John Wheelwright, you learn as much as need to know about Tabby Wheelwright, Dan Needham, Harriet Wheelwright, Lewis Merrill, Aunt Martha and Noah and Simon and Hester, Head-Master White and many other characters. He gradually introduces his characters with humorous and engaging descriptions. Irving always writes so naturally that it seems effortless.

Humor is definitely one of Irving’s strong suits. There are many laughs throughout this book as well as a more subdued humor; however, the Christmas pageant of ’53 was side-splitting funny. Irving effectively uses bizarre and violent injury and death with twists of irony to populate his books with events. In this story we have the accidental death of Tabby Wheelwright (the narrator’s mother), the accidental death of Sagamore (the neighborhood

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