Customer Reviews


206 Reviews
5 star:
 (153)
4 star:
 (24)
3 star:
 (14)
2 star:
 (10)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heartbreaking masterpiece.
"What's your favourite..." can be such an irritating question, but for me, for books, there's an instant answer - 'A Prayer For Owen Meany.' I could tell you about angels and armadillos, armless Indians and the headless Mary Magdalene, the lethal baseball, what the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come saw and exactly how it connects with the corpse of a helicopter...
Published on 18 April 1999

versus
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Life Changing? Not for me.
Having greatly enjoyed `The World According to Garp' I was looking forward to `A Prayer for Owen Meany `which has the reputation of being Irving's best book. But I was sadly disappointed and remain somewhat baffled by the praise heaped on this novel - it is not dreadful, but not wonderful either.

I didn't warm to Owen, while at times intriguing I found him...
Published on 26 Sept. 2008 by Lendrick


‹ Previous | 1 2 321 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only had the chance to read one more book in your life..., 16 July 2007
By 
CM (UK Staffs) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Prayer For Owen Meany (Paperback)
I could write an entire book about just how good this book is. I only discovered it about half-way through reading all of John Irving's works but it is the one that l return to again and again.
There is a character for everyone in here; someone we can all associate with. In typical Irving style, he creates a cast of many but tells their stories so observantly that we know each individual as if they were our own friends, neighbours, relations and acquaintances.
This book not only took me on a fabulous journey through the formative years of Owen, Johnny et al, but also made me more keenly aware of the politics of war, education and religion, as well as my own attitude to the people close to me.
No matter how many times l read it, l notice something new. It is not in the style of being "un-put-downable" (IMO Irving is not meant to be raced through), and l would advise anyone lucky enough to be reading it for the first time to enjoy the journey, take it all in and remember to breathe as the inevitable conclusion draws closer.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'he looked like a descending angel- a tiny but fiery god, sent to adjudicate the errors of our ways', 16 Sept. 2012
By 
sally tarbox (aylesbury bucks uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Prayer For Owen Meany (Paperback)
One of the best books I've ever read: the 'engineering' of the writing is faultless as narrator John Wheelwright, a middle aged teacher, recalls his childhood and youth, and his miraculous friend Owen Meany. These are interspersed with little blasts from his present. Irving reveals events gradually, keeping us guessing throughout. Humour and drama work side by side.
The tiny Owen, with his strange voice seems at first just a target for his peers' teasing. But his charisma, strength and great intelligence gradually become apparent. Indeed there seems to be something 'other worldly' about him....
As I read this it made me think about the early life of Jesus, of which the Bible tells us hardly anything. Was his purpose gradually revealed to him as a child? How did his parents treat the Son of God? Was Jesus himself able to get along with others of his age group, participating in their games and mischief?
A fascinating and moving read that remains with you long after you've finished it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book in the World.......Ever, 27 Oct. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Prayer For Owen Meany (Paperback)
I'm not a huge John Irving fan normally, although I quite enjoyed his other books (particularly Setting Free the Bears and Hotel New Hampshire)but Owen Meany is truly one of the best books I have ever read. The characters (well, Owen mainly) are incredible, and the book is just so smoothly written........... I don't know what to say other than, if you haven't read this book, then read it, and if you have, then read it again!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Ending Ever, 4 Sept. 2006
This review is from: A Prayer For Owen Meany (Paperback)
I am not going to repeat all of the previous comments about how good this book is (and it really is amazing), but I would like to add, that if ever a book made you feel that the previous 630 pages have not been read in vain, this is it. With the extraordinary (and seemingly disjointed) events of the main part of the book being so original and interesting, it seems as though nothing could top what has gone before. But it does. A bit of advice, DO NOT read the ending until you have read everything else. Apart from being a stupid and spoiling thing to do, you will also not understand the significance of every line. It took me about half an hour to read the final 5 pages because I kept having to stop and calm my sobbing. It is not a twisty ending, and the general story will be very clear to you before you read it, but the details are devestatingly perfect.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practically a fairy-story, 3 Sept. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: A Prayer For Owen Meany (Paperback)
I loved this book, but in many ways found it a very painful read, as it is funny and tragic all at the same time. If you pick it, keep some tissues nearby. It is a stunning work of fiction, the characters, especially Owen Meany, are extremely rounded and vivid, and the development of the story is engrossing. This was the first John Irving book I read, and after such an amazing experience, it definitely won't be the last.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still can't stop thinking about this book, 14 Mar. 2007
By 
V. Charlton (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This was the first Irving book I've read, and to be honest I bought it largely because this edition is very good value for money for such a thick book! However, since finishing it about 10 days ago I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

The story documents the life of Owen Meany - a character who defies description - through the eyes of his best friend. The plot weaves its way around a large number of seemingly insignificant threads which eventually reveal their importance in the final few pages, in an incredibly touching and thought provoking finish.

I don't usually write reviews and struggle to define or describe this book, but I would recommend it to anyone who likes books that make them think, cry and smile all at the same time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary., 27 Mar. 2010
This review is from: A Prayer For Owen Meany (Paperback)
There are quite a few authors who can make me laugh. There are some who can make me cry. There are even some who can do both. But John Irving is the only one who can make me laugh out loud AND cry at the same time. A Prayer For Owen Meaney is my favourite book of all time. No competition. Owen is a character you won't forget, even years after you're read the book. Absolutely brilliant novel...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-rending, a future classic, 2 Feb. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: A Prayer For Owen Meany (Paperback)
John Irving has written bad novels, most notably the Cider House Rules, but this is the exception. You cannot fail to be moved by this. I am not a religious person, but it is a beautiful story with unforgettable characters. Owen Meany himself will become a literary icon alonside Oliver Twist, if there is any justice. Superb. You will not regret buying this novel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, funny and thoughtful......, 10 Oct. 2009
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Prayer For Owen Meany (Paperback)
This is a wonderful book in every way - poignant, funny and thoughtful. Johnny Wheelwright recounts the story of his friendship with Owen - a boy of very small stature (dwarfism is never mentioned) who is highly intelligent and socially manipulative. But as well as being clever Owen is convinced he has been chosen by God for a special purpose. He also claims to know the date of his death - a fact that Johnny treats with great scepticism. There is much sadness in the book - Owen seems to come from such an unloving family, Johnny would love to know who his real father is, people die unexpectedly and tragically. But the friendship and love of Johnny and Owen overcomes all this as they move through childhood to adulthood.

The narrative is brilliantly constructed and everything in the story is relevant. Irving explores ideas on organised religion and spiritually and although the story is set in small town New Hampshire the wider political scene is referred to as John links his narrative with facts about the Vietnam War and the Iran-Contra affair.

I chose to read this book as it so often appears on those lists of "most favourite books". I left in on my book shelf for over a year - initially put off by the 640 pages. But now I realise it was a wonderful treat just waiting for me! Owen Meany must be one of the best literary creations of all times.....
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a WOW!! book, 13 May 2007
By 
Misfit (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Prayer For Owen Meany (Paperback)
I can't even begin to describe how awesome this book was, nor how to describe the story of Owen Meany and his childhood friend Johnny Wheelright. There are so many incredibly funny and touching moments, you will laugh out loud at Owen's antics (LOL, the doctor's volkswagon). Other reviewers have mentioned a similarity to Dickens, and I noticed that as well. Wonderfully drawn, quirky characters who in the end all serve a purpose to telling the story, culminating in the final heartbreaking ending as Owen realizes the destiny he was born to. And do have the tissue box ready for the last 50 or so pages, you will need it.

Highly highly recommended, and you will be thinking about Owen long after you have finished the last pages, and the impact he can have on your life as well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 321 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

A Prayer For Owen Meany
A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving (Paperback - 1 May 1990)
£7.19
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews