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Group Reads - Fiction > A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (March 2016 Group Fiction Read)

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message 1: by Shirley (new)

Shirley | 4177 comments Please feel free to add your thoughts and comments about this book on this thread. No spoilers, please!


message 2: by Hales (new)

Hales | 314 comments Really looking forward to this one :)


message 3: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7378 comments Mod
I will definitely join this one - first time through for me!


message 4: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Hales wrote: "Really looking forward to this one :)"

Me too!


message 5: by Shirley (new)

Shirley | 4177 comments Me too! Already started, but it's quite a long book, so may take me a while.


message 6: by Petra (new)

Petra | 3246 comments I'm so tempted to reread this with everyone......but am so swamped in books wishes already. What to do; What to do???!!!....


message 7: by Karin (new)

Karin | 1928 comments I'm over half way through it because I thought I was supposed to read it ahead of time, so I'm in.


message 8: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Pritchard | 50 comments Definitely in. This will be my first reading of John Irving and my first group read with AAB and goodreads, so I am looking forward to lots of good discussions. Starting my read next week, (off from work on Tuesday and Wednesday).

Happy reading!


message 9: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13144 comments Mod
I've read it too recently to pick it up again. I'll follow you though


Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 552 comments I've been meaning to read this book for a while - looking forward to it. I can start on March 8th.


message 11: by Dominique (new)

Dominique I have this one for a challenge for this year, will join you guys.


message 12: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 313 comments I've started it, and am enjoying it very much. Irving can be a wonderful writer. I'm reading this because I loved The World According to Garp. I also tried to read Hotel New Hampshire and Cider House Rules, but was never caught up in them, so I didn't finish either of them. Has anyone read his latest novel, Avenue of Mysteries?


message 13: by Evelyn (new)

Evelyn | 1410 comments Just picked it up from the library, looking forward to it, but must finish A Little Life first


message 14: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Pritchard | 50 comments Started it today. Quite a few laughs here and there. I'm loving John's grandmother. :)~


message 15: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 313 comments The narrator is very believable, remembering his childhood so realistically it makes me wonder how much of this experience has been Irving's.


message 16: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Pritchard | 50 comments I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. I literally had to put the book down, for a few minutes yesterday, to get all the giggles out of my system.


message 17: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 313 comments Patrick wrote: "I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. I literally had to put the book down, for a few minutes yesterday, to get all the giggles out of my system."

The wedding scene is wonderful. Now I know why one of the reviews in the front of the book mentioned how cinematic the book is, I could picture every moment in the scene as if it were on the big screen.


message 18: by Shirley (new)

Shirley | 4177 comments Janice(JG) wrote: "The narrator is very believable, remembering his childhood so realistically it makes me wonder how much of this experience has been Irving's."

That's true, I'm really enjoying thid, and so funny at times!


message 19: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 313 comments Shirley wrote: "Janice(JG) wrote: "The narrator is very believable, remembering his childhood so realistically it makes me wonder how much of this experience has been Irving's."

That's true, I'm really enjoying t..."


And in fact, the narrator's name is John. Coincidence?

THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS COINCIDENCE.

: )


message 20: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments I started today -- only finished the first 2 chapters but am liking it so far. The end of chap. 2 describing some of the events of the Vietnam War has made me think I should reread The Quiet American sometime...

Growing up in New England, Irving was a "must read" author after he came out with The World According to Garp followed shortly thereafter by The Hotel New Hampshire. While I read both of those when they came out, I didn't really like his books that much. But I am enjoying this one more than I had anticipated & am thinking maybe I would like his others if I revisited them.


message 21: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments How far along is everyone? I am still fairly early -- finished Chap. 4

All the Vietnam war stuff made me decide to reread via audiobook the Graham Greene classic, The Quiet American. Oh, I see I said I was thinking about it last time!


Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 552 comments I can't download it on Audible until tomorrow, according to my monthly subscription. So, I will be starting it then.


message 23: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Pritchard | 50 comments Started chapter 7 today.


message 24: by Shirley (new)

Shirley | 4177 comments I'm near the end of chapter four.


message 25: by Dominique (new)

Dominique L`m starting it this week.


message 26: by Karin (last edited Mar 07, 2016 03:49PM) (new)

Karin | 1928 comments I finished it last week. It was a three star book for me (better than The World According to Garp) but I'm not much of a John Irving fan.


message 27: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 313 comments I CAN'T HELP BUT LOVE OWEN.


message 28: by Leslie (last edited Mar 07, 2016 04:26PM) (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments So I was reading along and suddenly it occurred to me that TV evangelists are something that I never see anymore. I don't know if that is because their heyday has come and gone or if they are just lost in the hundreds of channels now but the Jerry Falwell/Pat Robertson types seem to be a thing of the 70s & 80s.

edit Do the non-U.S. members even know who I am referring to?


message 29: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 313 comments Leslie wrote: "So I was reading along and suddenly it occurred to me that TV evangelists are something that I never see anymore. I don't know if that is because their heyday has come and gone or if they are just ..."

Pat Robertson is still sitting as resident host of the 700 club, which I think can be found on different local independent channels. There are also specific cable channels now for those who want to be evangelized... but I haven't watched Sunday morning TV in a very long time, so who knows. They may still be running strong.


message 30: by Leslie (last edited Mar 07, 2016 05:27PM) (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments So I guess that they are 'lost' in the hundreds of channels -- in the 'old days' before cable, they were harder to avoid! And I seem to remember hearing about them more in the news... but that again, I may have become more efficient at screening out.

Pat Robertson must be ancient by now! He seemed old to me 30 years ago...


message 31: by Karin (new)

Karin | 1928 comments Leslie wrote: "So I was reading along and suddenly it occurred to me that TV evangelists are something that I never see anymore. I don't know if that is because their heyday has come and gone or if they are just ..."

Sure, there are other countries with them. Plus, Canadians get a lot of American channels.

And of course they are still around. I don't watch them, but it's not likely they are gone. However, some may be doing live streaming instead. I know of a biker church that does live streaming and has bikers viewing from all over the globe.


message 32: by Karin (new)

Karin | 1928 comments Janice(JG) wrote: "I CAN'T HELP BUT LOVE OWEN."

HE IS QUITE A CHARACTER.


message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi! I'm just popping by to say that I won't be joining you in this read after all. I was convinced I had this book, while what I actually own is The world according to Garp and The hotel new hampshire :(
I hope you all enjoy this book nonetheless :)


message 34: by Shirley (new)

Shirley | 4177 comments Janice(JG) wrote: "I CAN'T HELP BUT LOVE OWEN."

ME TOO!


message 35: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Pritchard | 50 comments One term I never grew up saying: the shivers. Was that more common back in the 50s and 60s? Or, is that some New England thing? I love it. :)~


message 36: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Patrick wrote: "One term I never grew up saying: the shivers. Was that more common back in the 50s and 60s? Or, is that some New England thing? I love it. :)~"

I don't recall this as a common phrase for young people though "it gives me the shivers" was not unheard of.

I have finished Chapter 7 now & I am enjoying hearing someone other than myself rant about Iran-Contra!! I used to stay home from work to watch those hearings and my conversation at that time must have sounded a lot like Johnny's :P


message 37: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Shirley wrote: "Janice(JG) wrote: "I CAN'T HELP BUT LOVE OWEN."

ME TOO!"


Me not so much - I like Johnny but I find Owen interesting but not someone who I can understand or empathize with. His home life is a blank to me - I can't figure it out.


message 38: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 313 comments Leslie wrote: "Shirley wrote: "Janice(JG) wrote: "I CAN'T HELP BUT LOVE OWEN."

ME TOO!"

Me not so much - I like Johnny but I find Owen interesting but not someone who I can understand or empathize with. His home life is a blank to me - I can't figure it out...."


Actually, neither can I. I don't get his mother at all, unless she really does have some serious mental issues. His father seems to love Owen. Maybe it's because he is an only (and a weird) child, or maybe his parents are much much older than typical and have no idea how to relate to their genius son.

It's a mystery, for sure.


message 39: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments I wonder if the "UNSPEAKABLE ACT" of the Catholics is somehow related to Owen's physical deformities...

I finished Chap. 8 & OMG!!! (view spoiler)


message 40: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 313 comments Leslie wrote: "I wonder if the "UNSPEAKABLE ACT" of the Catholics is somehow related to Owen's physical deformities...

I finished Chap. 8 & OMG!!! [spoilers removed]"


I didn't get the impression that Owen is deformed? ... just really short, and ugly, with an extremely irritating voice that ALWAYS TALKS IN ALL CAPS.


message 41: by Patrick (last edited Mar 09, 2016 04:47PM) (new)

Patrick Pritchard | 50 comments Leslie wrote: "I wonder if the "UNSPEAKABLE ACT" of the Catholics is somehow related to Owen's physical deformities...

I finished Chap. 8 & OMG!!!


I can see Owen doing something like that to help Johnny. I was the same way - OMG! What are you about to do?!!!

Why Owen won't do it for himself is a puzzle. Maybe it's all because of "the dream".


message 42: by Karin (new)

Karin | 1928 comments Patrick wrote: "One term I never grew up saying: the shivers. Was that more common back in the 50s and 60s? Or, is that some New England thing? I love it. :)~"

Since we said it when I was growing up, and I didn't make it to New England until I was over 30, it was definitely a saying that was common, even for young people. I am significantly younger than the characters in the book (my mother went to high school in the 1950s), but old enough to have used it.


message 43: by Karin (new)

Karin | 1928 comments Janice(JG) wrote: "Leslie wrote: "I wonder if the "UNSPEAKABLE ACT" of the Catholics is somehow related to Owen's physical deformities...

I finished Chap. 8 & OMG!!! [spoilers removed]"

I didn't get the impression ..."


He's not deformed, but it almost seems that way when you read that first description of him sitting in the chair at Sunday school because his legs were so short. However, when you read about how fast he ran in baseball, it's clear he wasn't.

He wasn't ugly, just short and with that horrendous voice. They talk about his cuteness many times.


message 44: by Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition (last edited Mar 11, 2016 07:29AM) (new)

Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 552 comments Sorry, I don't think this book is for me - I'm finding it rather boring, longwinded and have no reason to care for any of the characters or their long family histories and religious views.

Why is a boy's "coming of age" so nostalgic and idealized by so many writers (and readers)?


message 45: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Pritchard | 50 comments Finished the book last night. This was my first time reading any of Irving's work and I enjoyed it lots. I'm looking forward to reading more - have The Hotel New Hampshire on order now.


message 46: by Patrick (last edited Mar 11, 2016 10:16AM) (new)

Patrick Pritchard | 50 comments Terry wrote: "Why is a boy's "coming of age" so nostalgic and idealized by so many writers (and readers)?"

It's definitely a popular theme. Maybe one reason why is that we all have our own coming-of-age stories. And often we may see parts of ourselves, and our struggles growing up, in the writer's text.

Plus, it's often said, writers tend to write about what they know.


message 47: by Karin (new)

Karin | 1928 comments Terry wrote: "Sorry, I don't think this book is for me - I'm finding it rather boring, longwinded and have no reason to care for any of the characters or their long family histories and religious views.

Why is..."


I understand. I gave this 3 stars, but it was 2.5 rounded up. I did read it, though for something else, but I think it will be my last John Irving. Two strikes so far.


message 48: by B the BookAddict (new)

B the BookAddict (bthebookaddict) | 8315 comments Leslie wrote: "So I was reading along and suddenly it occurred to me that TV evangelists are something that I never see anymore. I don't know if that is because their heyday has come and gone or if they are just ..."

I know what you are referring to, Leslie. We used to have them here in AU on tv but not anymore, even in the wee small hours of the night. On one pay-tv station, we have Hillsong which started as a group of younger religious people but now has a huge following. They have grown into a very influential church and brand but mostly seems like mass idolizing.


message 49: by B the BookAddict (last edited Mar 12, 2016 10:48AM) (new)

B the BookAddict (bthebookaddict) | 8315 comments I haven't started my reading of Owen so far. I've read it several times already and really love the character and the trials and tribulations which Irving puts him thru. Irving is one of my favourite writers and has to go really awry, think Last Night in Twisted River, before my fervour for him starts to sag.

I've never thought Owen is deformed, merely short but with a big voice to make up for it. I do want to take him home and hug him.


message 50: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Perhaps I used the wrong term but to me, his fixed larynx which affects his voice so much is a deformity. I also got the impression that much of his "cuteness" came from his diminutive size rather than his appearance.

I am done now and will admit that I cried at the end. But there are some aspects of the book which I found puzzling. The narrator John Wheelwright's lack of sexuality for example. What is the purpose or point of that?


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