A Prayer for Owen Meany

by John Irving | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: Global Overview for this book
Registered by SwissToni on 2/22/2004
Buy from one of these Booksellers:
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12 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by SwissToni on Sunday, February 22, 2004
This is my all-time favourite book and is the third copy of that I am registering and releasing:

1) the first copy is the Owen Meany Bookring and not only is it my favourite book ever, but it is my favourite ever copy of my favourite ever book.

2) The second copy of Owen Meany was purchased because all of the reviews for the bookring filled me with the urge for a re-read. The plan was to read this on the plane to Australia and then release it in Sydney. Well, I managed to release it in the Botanical Gardens in Sydney (from where it has since been journalled, and has finally given me my first ever catch!) but alas I hadn't managed to finish the book off. Ah well. I then needed to buy another copy in Sydney so that I could have something to read on the flight back.

This copy was bought in a lovely bookshop/coffee shop/2nd hand bookshop called Berkelouw on Oxford St in Sydney.

I've finally finished it, and it's off to Camis (who has promised me she will start a bookray with it, starting with WistfulDragon!). It is such a magical and original book. I could almost go right back to the beginning and read it all over again. For more details on what I think on this book, click on the link to the bookring copy above. What I will say here though is that John Irving thinks this is his finest opening sentence of any of his novels:

"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."

I hope you enjoy this as much as I have, and I'm jealous of any of you who will be reading this for the first time. I look forward to your reviews.

Journal Entry 2 by SwissToni at RABCK in a RABCK, By Mail/Post/Courier -- Controlled Releases on Friday, February 27, 2004
Release planned for Saturday, February 28, 2004 at RABCK in Mailed to fellow bookcrosser, Postal Release Controlled Releases.

Mailed out to Camis (who asked for this ages and ages ago - I promise it's worth the wait). Remember that you said you would start a ring/ray with this....!

Journal Entry 3 by camis from Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom on Tuesday, March 2, 2004
Received in the post today from SwissToni. He has given this book such a glowing recommendation that I can't wait to read it - alas I have a couple of book group books here that I must finish first, but this is heading to the top of my TBR pile.

And yes, I have remembered that I am going to offer this up for a ray once I have finished!!

Journal Entry 4 by camis from Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom on Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Well, SwissToni promised me it would be worth the wait and it was! When I first picked the book up and started reading, I really wasn't too sure and it took me a while to really get into the flow of the book. However, after a couple of aborted attempts, something finally clicked and the book just completely absorbed me until I finished it.

Owen wasn't really what I would call a likeable character; to start with I couldn't take to him at all and found him annoying, but as his life unfolded, the reason for his personality became clearer.

Parts of the book were funny - the nativity play for example - and others very sad. It did take me until the end of the book to finally tie everything together - I'm not very good at spotting where a plot is heading - and when it happened there was a sense of satisfaction at how everything turned out.

Thank you SwissToni for sharing this - I am now starting up a ray as follows.

Jords (UK)
angi612uk (UK)
Weebly (UK)
Rachels-ratty (UK)
Tanis (UK)
oblivious1980 (UK)
WistfulDragon (UK)
Skribble (UK)
GlasgowGal (UK)
Spike1972 (UK)
Cass01 (UK)
Adrienne10 (US)

Journal Entry 5 by camis at on Tuesday, May 4, 2004
Released on Tuesday, May 04, 2004 at Fellow BookCrosser in n/a, Sent to another BookCrosser Controlled Releases.

Posted out to Jords today.

Journal Entry 6 by Jords from Preston, Lancashire United Kingdom on Friday, May 7, 2004
TBR - Received with many thanks from Camis. Will read & journal a.s.a.p and the onto oblivious1980. :o)

Journal Entry 7 by Jords from Preston, Lancashire United Kingdom on Tuesday, June 1, 2004
I'm not quite sure what to write about this book. I did find it quite difficult to follow at first as it's not an easy narrative style to follow, however once you get used to it it's a lot easier.

I must admit, I was quite irritated with the use of capitals (when Owen speaks) at first too - I just couldn't understand it.... but it later becomes clear, and I found it quite acceptable then (funny how it didn't bug me anymore!)

There are some really funny moments in the book, especially the episode with moving the car and equally there are some really emotionally heart tugging moments too.

On the whole, I'm glad I've read the book. I've got more to say about it but need to organise my thoughts a bit more.... everytime I think about it I feel a bit perplexed.... which is kind of weird really! Will edit journal when thoughts are more together!

Off to Oblivious next - enjoy!

Released on Friday, June 04, 2004 at fellow bookcrosser (England) in Postal Release (England), England United Kingdom.

Sent to Angi612UK

Journal Entry 9 by angi612uk from Whitchurch, Somerset United Kingdom on Monday, June 7, 2004
Thanks to Swiss-toni and Camis, and thank you to Jords for passing it on to me! It arrived this morning so as soon as I`ve finished the book I`m reading now, I can`t wait to get started on it.

Journal Entry 10 by angi612uk from Whitchurch, Somerset United Kingdom on Thursday, June 10, 2004
Such a poignant book. Owen is manipulative, tragic, funny and caring.
The only thing that annoyed me were the capital letters whenever he spoke. For me they leapt out from the page and distracted me from the flow of the narrative.
Ready to travel to WistfulDragon.

As WistfulDragon isn`t ready for it yet, I`m sending to Weebly.

Journal Entry 11 by angi612uk from Whitchurch, Somerset United Kingdom on Monday, June 14, 2004
Posted to Weebly this morning.

Journal Entry 12 by weebly from Hartwell, Northamptonshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Arrived - many thanks. I will read it as soon as I have finished the Salmon of Doubt.

Journal Entry 13 by weebly from Hartwell, Northamptonshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Just reached the half way mark so I thought I would give an update on how I am doing. I am really enjoying the book, and I really like the character of the narrator, he seems like a really likeable person and a good friend to Owen, how many people could stay friend's with the child who killed your only parent?

I am finding the book quite hard going though. I need quiet to read it or I find myself re-reading lines several times if I try reading while watching my kids swim or if they distract me. I am used to finished a book every 2-3 days and I have been reading this for 2 weeks now. I feel I want a change but I also want to know what happens so I am trying to read more often, but with Big Brother 5, and Wimbledon it is hard to increase reading hours. At least I have no interest in Euro 2004 since the Portugese knocked us out!

I will keep slogging on, and my aim is to finish the book in time for the National Meet in Birmingham, which I hope Rachels-Ratty will be attending - I must check with her!

Journal Entry 14 by weebly from Hartwell, Northamptonshire United Kingdom on Sunday, July 4, 2004
Once I got to the final third of this book, I couldn't put it down. I loved the message of everything happens for a reason, and sure enough it all came together in the end. Thanks so much for sharing SwissToni. I really must get the World according to Garp back of my friend and read that too, as I loved the film with Robin Williams and will look forward to reading more John Irving.

I offered to post to Rachels-ratty - but as snowed under she suggested I wait the 2 weeks and pass the book on in person at the meet. My neice sandy is visiting this weeek - so I will let her read it so it doesn't lie lonely on the shelf.

Journal Entry 15 by sandyundead from Reading, Berkshire United Kingdom on Monday, July 5, 2004
Will be reading this quickly before the National Meet - weebly has lent it to me to read before it is passed on to Rachels-Ratty.

Journal Entry 16 by sandyundead from Reading, Berkshire United Kingdom on Sunday, July 11, 2004
A perfectly crafted book - it is amazing how the book just fits. I loved finding out the unfolding story of Owen and Johnny and the effects that Owen had on Johnny's life. Owen is an excellent character, if a little frightening at times. This is one of the most thought-provoking books I have read.

Journal Entry 17 by weebly at on Friday, July 16, 2004
Release planned for Saturday, July 17, 2004 at BCUK 2004 Unconvention @ Apres Bar, Summerrow in Birmingham, England Controlled Releases.

Handing to rachels-ratty at the unconvention.

Journal Entry 18 by short-rach from Hucknall, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Monday, July 19, 2004
Ta muchly sweetie! It's next up, can't wait to read it after all the positive feedback and all your enthusiasm about it *grins*

Journal Entry 19 by short-rach from Hucknall, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Thursday, August 5, 2004
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I found this really difficult to get into, it took until almost that magical 100 page mark for me to realise I wasn't dreading turning the pages anymore! Unfortunately, towards the end I found it beginning to drag again which was a pity because I *did* get very involved with the characters for the rest of the time ;-)

Owen's way of speaking (the capitals) was VERY annoying to begin with but it was amazing how quickly I settled into it and just didn't notice it anymore! He was a hard character to like at times but all the characterisations were very good, I had perfect pictures in my head of all of the main players.

Whilst I wouldn't say this was my 'read of the year' - sorry Tim (!), I am glad I sucumbed to the relentless pressure and signed up to it!

Now I have a problem. I can get no answer to PM's from either Tanis or oblivious...and I'm going away on Sunday. Apologies in advance if this remains stuck here for far longer than I ever intended :-( Ideas anyone?

Journal Entry 20 by GinPoodle from Waterlooville, Hampshire United Kingdom on Friday, August 13, 2004
Sorry it took a while to get hold of me, I was offline for a couple of months. I wouldn't have minded if you'd bumped me to the end of the list.

I'm looking forward to this because Tim has raved about it so much and for so long and I like Tim, he's one of my favourite bookcrossers, so if this turns out to be a pile of tripe I shall rethink my own list.

It's looking a little the worse for wear now, page 18 is loose to the point of sluttishness.

Journal Entry 21 by GinPoodle from Waterlooville, Hampshire United Kingdom on Friday, September 24, 2004
Easily the best book I have read this year, it fair gave me THE SHIVERS. I enjoyed it so much I bought my own copy less than 50 pages in.

Owen's caps didn't irritate me at all, they helped me remember to read in my idea of his voice. This is one of those books that stays with you all day while you are reading it and lingers when you've finished.

I loved the holidays with the cousins, no wonder Hester turned out so slappable, one of the best things about this book is that you don't see the stories coming, they all unfold gently and slowly and maybe I'm too thick to see the signs but I didn't see any of them coming.

It's winging it's way to WistfulDragon now. Sorry I kept it so long, I was trying to make it last.

Journal Entry 22 by WistfulDragon from Streatham, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, September 25, 2004
The book's arrived safely - thanks for the warning about the loose pages!

Journal Entry 23 by WistfulDragon from Streatham, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, October 20, 2004
I spent far too long on this book. Not because it is a difficult read - it is a gentle, unassuming sort of book - but because it is worth savouring. If you are tempted to rush it, don't - you'll be doing the book and yourself a disservice.
I didn't mind the capitals at all, they certainly didn't detract from the story. And I'm glad they were used for excerpts from Owen's letters as well; I think they might have been written in capitals anyway, but if they weren't it was still the right way to show them, as who reads a letter from a friend without hearing their voice?
This is a very powerful book, for all its deceptive - well, whimsy almost. One boy tells it, as the story of his growing up as much as the story of his friend. Gradually bits of the first boy's current life creep in, but they merely serve to affirm the sort of person he grew into, and help to avoid that - often extremely irritating - passage at the end of the book that tells what happened to the characters 'afterwards'.
I have another of John Irving's books on my Toobie pile, which I'm really glad about now, despite its somewhat daunting size. I know I will find a book with well realised characters, a coherent story, with a theme that is hinted at from the first but is only fully revealed in the fullness of time. And this time I will know not to read the last few chapters on public transport, so that afterwards I don't have to worry about what the other passengers thought about the tears in my eyes.
Going to Skribble once I get the address. Thank you SwissToni!

Journal Entry 24 by skribble from -- Somewhere in London 🤷‍♀️ , Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, October 23, 2004
Theanks WistfulDragon - I must point out this book reached me lovingly tied up with a ribbon!

I am feeling slightly anxious about this book both because the reviews appear to suggest it can be difficult to get into but worth it in the end (this worries me, although I'm not entirely sure why) and also because pages are begining to come away. I'm going to Moscow in a few weeks time and think I will read it then as I'll have long stretches of time to get into it, and will hopefully be able to do it justice!

Journal Entry 25 by skribble from -- Somewhere in London 🤷‍♀️ , Greater London United Kingdom on Thursday, November 18, 2004
My thoughts on this book now I've finished it are quite mixed. Like others, I found the first third of the book hard going - it was sheer force of will that kept me going. As I got into it, it ws easier to keep reading. However, I was always concious that it was a long book that I needed to get through, rather than feeling dismayed about how quickly I was getting through it as I tend to do with books I really love, no matter how long they are.

There's lots of very entertaining sections of the book and some great characters (Owne Meany himself is an amazing creation - I love him!), but I found other bits quite boring. It's given me a fair bit to think about. Overall I feel a little dissatisfied with how the different characters, with the exceptions of Owen & Hester, were left in the end.

Will send it off on its next journey leg as soon as I have address from Glasgowgal

Journal Entry 26 by BC-08041015142 on Monday, November 22, 2004
Received in the mail this morning. I'm really looking to reading this as it's my "John Irving decider" as to whether I like him as an author. So far I've loved one of his books ("The Cider House Rules") and disliked a second ("Widow for One Year") so we'll see how this one fares.

#3 on Mt. TBR.

Update 12.12.04: I'm starting this book today. Sorry for the delay in getting to this. My bookcrossing activities have had to take a back seat recently. However, I'll get through this as soon as I can and post a new journal entry once I'm done.

Journal Entry 27 by BC-08041015142 on Thursday, December 30, 2004
Update ... I'm afraid I'm struggling a little with this book. However I have been told it is worth it and to persevere with it. Apologies for holding up the ring, but I would like to try and finish it before sending it on. I have contacted Spike1972 to let him know of the delay and he is OK with it.


Update 12.01.05 - I'm still persevering with the book. I am so sorry for the delay in passing this on, but I really would like to finish this copy so I can journal it here. I will make a concerted effort to get it moving before the end of the month.

Update 20.01.05 - One week on and I've officially given up on this book. I'll write a proper journal entry for it.

Journal Entry 28 by BC-08041015142 on Thursday, January 20, 2005
After almost six weeks trying to read this book (including over the holidays when my available reading time is at a maximum), I have barely managed to scrape halfway through this book. The main problem is that it puts me to sleep! No, really. Whenever I pick it up, I manage 2 pages and then fall asleep! I was undecided as to whether I actually liked Irving as a writer or not before this book - having liked "The Cider House Rules" and being unimpressed by "A Widow for One Year". However, at least I managed to get through both of those books.

I didn't connect to any of the characters in "A Prayer for Owen Meany" and thus, didn't really care what happens to any of them. People have said the book all comes together at the end, but I'm afraid, for me, that is 600 pages too late to get me hooked.

Apologies to everyone - especially SwissToni (please don't hate me forever!) - but thank you for sharing this book. I will now pass it on to Spike.

Journal Entry 29 by BC-08041015142 at on Friday, January 28, 2005

Released 19 yrs ago (1/28/2005 UTC) at



Sent to Spike1972

Journal Entry 30 by spike1972 from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 2, 2005
The book arrived safely this morning. Thanks GlasgowGal, and thank you to Camis for setting up the Bookray ;o)

I'm starting to think that a *big* part of bookcrossing is receiving books on bookrings/rays that you'd completely forgotten you'd signed up for ;o)

Journal Entry 31 by spike1972 from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Wednesday, June 1, 2005
Just a quick note to apologise for the delay (again), and to say I'll be starting this tomorrow/the next day or two.

Journal Entry 32 by spike1972 from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Sunday, July 17, 2005
As most of you on this bookring may know (being fellow members of BCuk), I've struggled to get into this book, not because of the book itself, but it's been more a problem of reading (or at least concentrating enough to read) anything really, so I must apologise for the time I've taken with this (though I have kept Camis informed of this).

However, I've recently had a few days 'offline' and this was, delibrately, the only book I had with me.

While I'd made a start previously, due to the aforementioned reasons, I hadn't got very far with it.

Now, however, I'm 150+ pages in so thought it was time to make a journal entry.

I'm not the best person for keeping a track of a plot, or characters for that matter, so I don't know if that is making this book more... challenging is the wrong word, but hopefully you know what I mean.

I too still find it annoying that Owen Meany's 'part' is ALL in capitals. Maybe it's because I/we're so used to capital letters in emails and/or text messages meaning that the person is 'shouting'? Or maybe that's the point? Is/was Owen Meany's voice *always* loud? (Perhaps to make up for his size?). He certainly seems to have a big character.

I can relate to the cousins in this book, but unfortunately not in a positive way ;os - me no likee!

Another problem, if it is a problem, is I think I keep forgetting how young the kids are - with their exploits I keep thinking that they are teenagers, and have to be reminded that they are not. Not yet anyway.

I admit that I'm a little daunted at the knowledge that this book is 600+ pages, but I think I'm interested enough by now to carry on, at least for the time being.

Another aspect of this book that bugs me a little is the religiousness(?)of the book/story, but that's just a personal matter. I know that it seems important to the book, and religion is certainly important to Owen Meany (one the memorable parts of the book so far is where he almost single-handedly took charge of, and made changes to, the nativity play - much to his teacher's annoyance ;oD).

Maybe if I'd realised that there was so much religion in this book I'd have skipped it - but at the same time that would have been the wrong thing to do and I'd have missed out on a good story. (One of the things that BC has taught me, and is still teaching me, is to be more open-minded in what I read).

Ok, for a short journal entry that was quite long, and no doubt some of you are asleep by now, so I'll go away for a while ;O)

Journal Entry 33 by spike1972 from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, October 24, 2005
Wow, there's so much to say about this book.

Firstly, I'd like to begin with my customary apologies for keeping it sooo long, and then taking so long to read it. Part of the blame has to lay with myself though, not just the book. Having said that, the first half of the book was quite hard going, and I did wonder whether or not to carry on.

After a few "yes, keep going" messages from fellow BCukers I did and, now that I've finished it, I'm glad I did.

This truly is one of those books that only gets you hooked properly in the last third, and only really works everything out and ties up the loose ends, right at the very end. And by that I mean literally the last few pages. And I for one didn't see it coming, and certainly didn't see the relevance of a 'theme' that runs through the book. (I can't be more specific than that or I'll spoil it for anyone who reads this but hasn't yet read the book, but I know that others who've read it will know exactly what I mean).

I agree with camis in that at the beginning I struggled a bit to like Owen. I admired him, and his many 'sides', but I'm not sure I liked him. And I'm afraid I didn't get comfortable with the fact his words were always in BLOCK CAPITALS. I know he has a very distinct, unusual voice, but to me the caps just made him 'shout' when he spoke. I also agree that the nativity play, and how be pretty much commandeered it, was one of the best and funniest bits of the book. Again I'm like camis in that I don't always figure out where a plot is going - not always a bad thing - and I certainly didn't know where this one was going.

For varied reasons it took me to get over half-way in the book before I was hooked, before I actually wanted to read more to see what happened, but as I said at the start, that wasn't all the book's fault, part of that was just me being me.

I think all the characters were very well-defined (something I often have trouble with in books) and all likeable. Apart from Major Rawls that is. And I don't know why, but I just didn't like him. I didn't really care what happened to him, and what I *thought* might happen (and I suppose in a way I hoped would happen to him) at the very end, didn't happen. And in hindsight I'm glad of that too.

So, all-in-all I'm actually glad I persevered with this book, and would like to thank those who encouraged me to stick with it.

I'll pass this on to Cass01 soon.

Journal Entry 34 by spike1972 from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Eek! I've just realised I've been holding on to this book for 8 months! That's terrible! BadSpike.

Anyway, it's finally on its way to Cass01

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