Rerelease of a John Irving classic

I have read a few other novels by John Irving….The World According to Garp  and Hotel New Hampshire.  Both wildy bizarre, inappropriately intriguing and shockingly humorous.  A Prayer for Owen Meany hits all three of these qualities as well…just not as shocking for myself.  The story takes place in New England and centers on the unlikely friendship of two boys – Owen and John.  John is your average boy who lives with his mom, loves baseball and hates going to church.  He has never known his father or even his father’s identity.  Though his beautiful and kind mother helps fill the gap.  John’s best friend is Owen Meany.  The Meany family have been around for a long time….and Owen is a unique character.  He is dwarfish and talks in a strange, annoying voice that is written in ALL CAPS throughout the story.  His mother is a recluse…never leaves the house and leaves Owen searching for a maternal figure which he finds in Tabby – John’s mother.  The story starts out quickly with a horrific accident.  Owen hits a foul ball which strikes Tabby and kills her instantly.  Owen believes he has become an instrument of God through this incident.  This is what guides the story.  Owen and John’s relationship evolves in despite of the tragedy.  The reader bounces back and forth from present day with John retelling his past and relationship with Owen Meany.  I wanted to desperately to devour this novel, but I found myself reading and setting it aside.  It was at times too wordy and it felt like it was trying too hard to be shocking.  I have read that Irving has been compared to Charles Dickens in his descriptive writing style….though Dickens was paid per word.  I enjoyed the novel, but I am not sure it is one I will revisit.

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