A Prayer for Owen Meany ~ BookRing!!!
18 journalers for this copy...
Ah. I love this book. Irving is my favourite author and this is probably my favourite book of all time. More than that, this particular copy is my own personal favourite copy of my favourite book.... A discussion on the Yahoo UK bookcrossing forum led me to offer this up for a bookring (yes, I do want it back, but I also want to let it see the world and be enjoyed by other bookcrossers)
Why is it my favourite book? Well, all the way through the book, I was mildly disgruntled: it just didn't seem quite right ("not as good as 'The Hotel New Hampshire'" I grumbled). It was good, but not as good as some of his other books, and I wasn't sure why. Then I got to p.636 - pretty much the last page in the whole book - and it all clicked surely into place. I spent ages just sat on my bed, playing the whole thing back in my mind. Totally the most satisying end of any book I have read, and what a master craftsman Irving was to hold the whole thing together and bring it to such a conclusion. Brilliant. I want as many people as possible to read this, and to journal their thoughts here.
Here are the participants:
Amanida (UK)<--- book is here!
Then back to me!
Here are the rules:
1. When you receive the book, make a journal entry so we all get the thrill of knowing where it's at...
2. PM the next person in line for their address.
3. Read the book, and make a journal entry to tell us what you thought
4. Make release notes/a journal entry to say when the book is leaving your hands and who'll be catching it next, and pop it into the post!
Any problems, ping me a private message!
(7th December 2003. confession time - if you get to page 636 and wonder what the hell I am talking about, there is an explanation... It all clicked for me in the last chapter, but I couldn't recall the exact page... so when I wrote this, I grabbed the book, found the end, went back a page and used that page number - p.636 - as the place where it all happens. Reading the below it looks as though p.632 may be a more likely candidate. I'll update this once I've reread on the flight to Oz....)
Thanks for this, I look forward to reading it. The book I'm reading at the moment I'm finding rather hard going, so I intend having a marathon session on it this afternoon, by the end of which I'll either have finished it or given up altogether. I hope to get on to this one by the end of the week.
I'm intrigued now - I can't wait to get to page 636!
For the first couple of pages I felt I was going to dislike this book and find it very hard going. Then we met Owen and got to know him and I relaxed and started to enjoy it.
There were wonderfully funny passages - the nativity play and the morning meetings - then the pace picked up a bit - or I got more involved, and since last night I've been spending any time I can in reading the last 100 pages or so.
This is definitely a book to stay in my mind, and not be forgotten easily. Thank you for sharing it, it was great!
Now, must get Chelseagirl's address and send it on.
Whatever, I really enjoyed this and thank you so much, SwissToni, for starting the ring, I doubt I would ever have read this otherwise. Now I just need to get on with the huge pile of Irvings I picked up as a direct result of enjoying this one so much!
(Hopefully kangaroo has received SwissToni's copy of this by now? I'm a bit worried because it hasn't been journalled yet!)
However, you'll be pleased to hear that Owen has already accompanied me to Nottingham for a job interview - though I didn't take him in you'll be pleased to hear - and I am waiting for the sense of doom that became apparent about halfway through to be explained... Currently on p454, so he ought to be on his way sooner rather than later - that's if I don't have to reread bits!
It all clicked for me on p 632 - unless there is something I am missing? Also, I didn't find it scary at all. Good, yes, gripping, yes, but *scary*?
Discussion required, methinks.
Fabulous book though. Will be on its way soon, I promise!
On its way to Marianfrench, since chrisp already has a copy!
I plan to post it on to lucycat later today.
In all seriousness, I'm really looking forward to this, and although I do have Chris's 'Confederacy of Dunces' ray to finish first I imagine this will be back on the road again sometime next week. By the size of it, probably *late* next week.
Thanks to Marian for passing this one along to me, and to Tim for enthusing wildly and starting this one off in the first place. I'll keep you posted...
I tried so hard to like this, honest I did guvnor, but it just didn't push any buttons for me at all - and worse still, I seem to have developed a radar for discreet plot devices that bust the ending wide open. :O(
I have to say that if I hadn't read all your glowing journal entries beforehand, and had Tim not adored it so much, then I probably wouldn't have made it through - and I *am* glad that I did - there were several points at which I stoppped and considered sending the book on (mainly because I felt I had had it for too long.) Bugger.
Well, I never did manage to get hold of Shaznod, and Tracy (Bookaddict22) has just been RABCK'd a copy, so this headed off today to Meshe in the US. :O)
1. What was the "unspeakable outrage" that drove the Meanys away from the Catholic church?
2. Who was Johnny Wheelwright's father?
3. How did Owen Meany die?
So the last chapter didn't disappoint me and I too raced through the last 100 pages in comparison with my earlier pace.
I enjoyed the political ranting of the older John Wheelwright too. Was it just me, or did anyone else see any striking similarities between the Reagan administration of the mid 80s and the current one under Bush? Those passages about how "to disapprove of our involvement in a particular war against the communists was not the same as taking the communists side" (P.142) - just find a substitute for communists (terrorists? possessors of WMDs?) and those sentiments definitely strike a chord.
Thanks SwissToni - apologies for holding onto this so long - it'll be in the post to Mundoo as soon as I've got her address.
3rd in the TBR queue
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Posted to sunny27
I enjoyed it so much. I've awarded my first ever '10' rating. I'm finding it very difficult to read the next bookring I have in line.
As I was reading I was torn between dying to know what would happen and not wanting the book to end. I laughed out loud a couple of times and I got a bit weepy every now and again. I was even scared when people were closed up in the secret passageway. I never once thought it wasn't as good as the Irvings other books I've read. I found a copy of The Cider House Rules in a used bookshop last week and now I'm dying to get into it.
I'm never going to be religious and I would have put it down if it ever felt preachy, but it felt a bit like God was just another character in the novel. Why did they butcher it to make that film?
Is it a sign that I'm a permanent member of the Internet generation that for a long time the all capitals style that represented Owen's voice made me think he was shouting at me?
Just waiting on an address from Bilbi.
Posted today to Bilbi (of the very romantic address) in France
Hope I won't keep the book too long...
As far as my previous journal entry is concerned I sounded too much like some of the teenagers I meet in the library I work in. When they had to read a book but don't know which one to choose, they simply weigh them as if they were choosing vegetables and eventually chose the "lightest" ;-) That's the way I feel about this book. Last week I was so much afraid about the hugeness of the book that I may have miss a really enjoyable read !
Thank you for this 'ring !
It arrived on New Years Eve: so much for poor Bilbi paying extra for priority post. I expect it got caught in the Christmas rush. I've got a slim Reginald Hill book on the go which I'll dispatch with the same efficiency as Hill's murderers use for their victims, and then on to this. Thanks for the card Bilbi, and thanks Swisstoni for starting this ring. It will have to travel onwards quickly as I'm not sure the responsibility of having, as Tim's dedication inside reveals, 'my favourite copy of my favourite book' will sit lightly on my shoulders!
I'd pretty much guessed how the three principal plot devices would work out, but still think Irving does a great job of staving off the moment of illumination. I think for me the measure would have to be 'Would I read it again' and the answer is definitely yes. I'm sure there are more layers to it that are waiting to be discovered.
Only one thing really bugged me; as a long-time Pratchett fan of course it is only DEATH that speaks in all caps, and with a deep resonant voice. I had to keep reminding myself that Owen has a shrill falsetto voice.
This will be off to YowlYY later today. Thanks SwissToni for starting the ring, and for risking your favourite copy to the vagaries of the UK postal system. I think I'll send it insured! ;o)
"What...it isn't 'Dude, Where's My Country?'...what could it be then?!?!"
Thanks for shipping this, Netstation...I will bring Owen Meany now to the bedroom, where he can rest a bit after his trip around the world. I am in the middle of "The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse", to which "Big Stone Gap" will follow, but then I will attack this one with gusto. All the journal entries have made interesting points...let's see how much of my catholic upbringing I can find in here!
Update on 23.02.2005: I am halfway through! So far, I am enjoying the story very much, I only regret not to have had more time to read longer! However, I am about to go travelling for 3 days, which will give me more time to indulge with Owen's life. Yay!!
There is not much that I can add here, which hasn't yet been said by all the other readers. It has been a bit of a task to get into Irving's narration, maybe because what I've read before was completely different...but yes, I loved this novel. There are so many humorous moments in this book, and especially the scene with John's grandma "WAILING LIKE A BANSHEE" made me laugh so hard that I was crying at the same time.
There is not a single part of this book I didn't enjoy...even the political parts, which not everyone may find interesting, were in my opinion so very timely with what is happening now (or is it the story of the US just the same old over and over again??).
A brilliant book - thanks Swiss-Toni for introducing me to Owen Meany and the symbolism of the armadillo.
I am shipping it on Monday to London to visit Estherase...happy reading!
I'll be as quick as I can, honest...
(Hello all you lot as well: good to see so many familiar names in the journal entries. And thanks SwissToni for the borrow).
From the outset it reminded me strongly of Robertson Davies, so I was surprised and delighted to find references to him later on in the book. If anyone here fancies having the book this most strongly calls to mind ringed, let me know. Davies is well worth discovering.
I'll be PMing lady-mondegreen and will get this off ASAP..
I felt exactly the same as sunny27 - that Owen's capital letters were "shouty". But it made the "otherness" of his character come off the page in quite a clever way!
Thank you SwissToni for introducing me to a superb writer! I'll be sure to track down more John Irving books in the future.
Off to Aminida now
Just one little ring book ahead of it - I'll be starting soon.
A rather spooky coincidence is that Randy White (the horrid headmaster) now appears to be working in HR in my company - a message from him appeared on our Intranet just while I was reading about him.
For the record, the book travelled with me to Newcastle and Barcelona (twice). I did try to take care of it, but I admit guilt for the pinkish stain on p.134 - a drop of red wine - I'm sorry, SwissToni. Thanks so much for letting the book travel - nearly home now. I'll post it to Nut tomorrow.
On it's way back home now after more than two years!
Thank you all for taking such good care of her and for sending me regular updates on her whereabouts... much appreciated. I hope that some of you enjoyed reading this book as much as I have over the years. John Irving is one of those satisfying authors who writes big meaty books... his latest is over 800 pages, and as soon as I've finished my NaNoWriMo novel --- 34,000 words and counting --- I'll be getting stuck into that!
Right now I think I'll pop this little beauty back onto my bookshelf where she belongs for a good long rest.
Thanks for playing everyone!