A Prayer for Owen Meany Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Prayer for Owen Meany

Adult teacher John Wheelwright recalls the accidental death of his mother at the hands of his childhood best friend, Owen Meany - a physically disabled boy who believes he is God's instrument. John recounts their subsequent upbringing and friendship over the course of the next 20+ years, unravelling the mystery of his mother's life, his friend's death, and his own paternal heritage, in explanation of his religious faith.
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The review of this Book prepared by Jennifer Selk

The story is told by Johnny Wheelwright, a middle-aged American who lives in Canada, teaches English at a girl's school, goes to the Anglican church and has never known love with a woman. He looks back in flashes over his life, starting at his childhood years until his mid-twenties. His memories feature his best friend, Owen Meany.

Owen is a tiny person who is extemely religious and has an exceptional shouting voice. He accidentally kills Johnny's mother during a baseball game. Owen foresees his own death, as a hero, and the story moves irresistably to that event.

The story is set during the Vietnam era, and features some cutting insight into the nature of war and American politics, and the results.
The review of this Book prepared by John Samson

Chapter Analysis of A Prayer for Owen Meany

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   very sensitive (sigh) Time/era of story    -   1960's-1970's Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Kids:    -   religious influences Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   religious issues Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Coping with loss of loved one(s)    -   Yes Loss of...    -   mother Brain/Body disability?    -   physical disability

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   teacher Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   6 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast    -   Midwest The Americas (not US):    -   Yes The Americas:    -   Canada City?    -   Yes Misc setting    -   fancy mansion    -   fort/military installation

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like A Prayer for Owen Meany

John Irving Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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