A Prayer for Owen Meany
August 6, 2010 § 5 Comments
I’m nearly out of bloggable material for the week (it’s been a tough week), but in efforts to maintain the M-W-F post schedule I visited this site for a writing prompt.
The book I’m reading right now is teaching me…
Umm.. not currently reading a book, but my all-time favorite book is A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. And I’m not sure I want to inspect its personal impact on me beyond a meaningful experience, but here’s a snapshot of what Owen Meany means to me.
You know those moments or phases in life that change or steer you? In the summer of 2005 I worked at Carlsbad Caverns National Park and made some of my fondest memories to date. I made a great group of friends, tackled many physical challenges, and learned volumes about New Mexico and myself. Towards the end of my brief tenure there a I went on a roadtrip with a few coworkers up to Chaco Culture National Historical Park. We stayed at one of my coworkers’ parents’ house one night along the way where his mom strongly recommended Owen Meany to me. She described it as one of those books you think you’ve figured out but then you read the end and it’s completely different but perfectly consistent with the little hints dropped along the way. I was worried this knowledge might change my experience but it didn’t.
My experience reading Owen Meany is memorable. I tried to finish the book before I left New Mexico (even though the coworker’s mom insisted I keep the book). This is no small feat with John Irving and of course I failed. I continued reading the book when I arrived home and realized at a point that this is not a book to “get through”. I had to stop looking at the bookmark in the binding to gauge my progress. In fact, each page was enjoyable. Have you ever listened to a 3-minute stand-up comedy set where the comic introduces topic A, transitions to topic B, then at the very end ties the two together with a quip? It’s like that. Irving steers you through a train of thought, seemingly unimportant to the plot, then weaves it perfectly back together once you’ve put it out of mind. I love it. Irving is clever at a leisurely pace.
I really got to know the characters in an intimate manner. I felt like I explored the mystery of Owen Meany’s life along with the narrator. The book is so lengthy and detailed that reading the memoir of these two friends is akin to memorializing the little ups and downs of every day life. I won’t say anything more about the end, but it was satisfying.
I adore this book. It was the perfect punctuation to the summer of my life.
Have a fabulous weekend!