Bloggers Banter- A Prayer for Owen Meany

Oh man, do you every know peripherally that you love something but sort of forget how much? That's how I felt while reading A Prayer for Owen Meany- it's just so good. Julie and I decided that it would be fun to do a rereading version of Bloggers Banter and after jotting down a few books we'd be up for rereading we settled on this. Here's some thing that stood out: 

Julz: Did you know that Irving originally wanted Owen's dialogue printed in red like some Bibles print Jesus' words?  But the publishers put the kibosh on that because it would have been too costly. 


Christine: I had no idea about the red text part. That’s so interesting. Part of me totally loves that, but then part of me wants Irving to trust his reader enough to realize the sort of allegorical implications. I wonder if his shift to all caps was done in lieu of this.  


JulzYup, I think that’s the case.  


OK, English teacher, let's talk symbolism.  The color red and the arms (or lack thereof) were obviously prominent.  Where there any others that particularly struck you? 


Christine: I really love the motif of baseball in the novel, and how it’s meaning sort of shifts throughout. There is so much that falls under the umbrella, the game itself, the cards, the ball (as a weapon). I’m also very partial to the symbolism armadillo, as well. It’s sort of this sacred mediator, between Dan and Johnny at first, then Johnny and Owen. I think everyone needs an armadillo in their life.  


Julz:  Yes, I remember when you text me about the Armadillo exchange with a cry emoji!  I need an armadillo figurine or something for my shelf. 


Do you believe Mr. and Mrs. Meany's claim that Owen was a virgin birth?  Or are they just the crackpots Johnny took them to be after Mr. Meany's confession? 


Christine: I think one’s faith is probably a huge indicator as to how Owen’s conception is interpreted. I don’t think he’s the second Christ child (although he clearly serves as Christ-like-figure), I’m more inclined to think his mom was taken advantage of.  


Julz:  You’re probably right that she was too na├»ve to know what had happened to her. They both seem like such simpletons.  I also agree, I don’t see Owen as a Messianic figure, more of a prophet than anything. 


Christine: What did you think of Rev. Merrill? Do you find him a sympathetic character? 


Julz:  I didn’t really have strong feelings for Rev. Merrill either way.  I thought he was kind of a wuss.  But the fact that he kept the baseball and Owen knew all along (pretty much) was the most significant aspect of that whole father confessional scene.  Man, those two times that Johnny heard Owen’s voice then something ominous occurred gave me the SHIVERS. 


Christine: Yes! I remember the first time I read this I was so disappointed on Johnny's behalf that Merril was his dad. I'm so glad that he had Dan.  


I thought there were so many memorable more minor characters. I love Hester, and what she represents of this time period. And Johnny's grandmother reminds me of Violet Crawley from Downton. Anyone stand out to you in particular? 


Julz:  I though Owen and Hester were such an unlikely couple. Did you know she was named after the adulteress in the Scarlet Letter? And I was looking at my Goodreads personal notes on the book from when I first read it 10 years ago and this is what I said about Grandma Wheelwright: “I loved Johnny’s grandmother. She was traditionally stubborn, amiably opinionated and comically likeable as Owen’s benefactor. 

Otherwise, I loved Tabby. Considering who her mother was, her gentle nature and the fact that she didn’t care what anyone thought was so different than even her sister. Once she had found Nice Guy Dan, I was sad they didn’t get more time together.  But I loved that Dan formally adopted Johnny and that they kept each other close throughout their lives.   


But there will never be anyone as memorable as Owen.  


1 comment:

  1. Agree - I love this book so much. It's a special one.