24 May 2007

A prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

Date: May 23, 2007

Recommendation: Go deep in the count, work the pitcher, and you shall be rewarded with a 3-2 fastball down the center of the plate.

Although I have shared this graphical representation with those at book club, I am much too enamored with it not to show it again here - the y-axis is enjoyment, and the x-axis is number of pages. In blue is Book Club's first book, Midnight's Children, and in red is A Prayer for Owen Meany.

Many literate people consider A Prayer for Owen Meany their favorite book of all time. In wondering why this might be, I have decided to tabulate a comparison between Owen Meany - a Christ-like figure - and Jesus, THE Christ.

1. Book
In a fight with Irving, you can't waste 50 pages to beget anything
Winner: Meany

2. Author
God vs. Irving, since I want in at the pearly gates, better go with the big cheese.
Winner: Jesus

3. Parents
Mary and Joseph are not overly exciting, but at least Jesus seemed to like them; Owen didn't even acknowledge his parents!
Winner: Jesus

4. Career
From everything we know, Jesus was not much of a carpenter, whereas Owen could wield a pretty mean diamond saw!
Winner: Meany

5. Miracles
Not much competition here folks.
Winner: Jesus

6. Lives saved
Meany saves a handful of Vietnamese children; Jesus died to save all humanity - but since non-believers will be thrown in the depths of hell (to get orthodox on their ass), we have to deduct this from Jesus, so, a little too close to call.
Winner: Tie

7. Nightlife
Owen Meany managed to score with Hester the Molester; Dan Brown aside, what action did Jesus ever get?
Winner: Meany

8. Athletics
Jesus walked on water; Owen walked to first base, except that one time, and we know how that one turned out.
Winner: Jesus

9. Academics
Meany was accepted to both Harvard and Yale on full scholarship; Jesus went wandered the world in his formative learning years, from 12 to 30 years (he may as well have gone to York University).
Winner: Meany

10. Conclusion
Too close to call, with 4 categories each and 1 tie. We'll have to go to one last category to figure this one out.

Jesus had the apostles, Owen Meany had John Wheelwright - sorry little guy but 12 virgins beat 1 virgin.
Winner: Jesus, but oh so close!


Anonymous said...

I loved this book.I looked forward
to picking it up everyday, and sort of 'miss' Owen and John. Could it be that I'm a little jealous that Owen had no 'doubt' about his mission on earth? It left me wondering if it would be comforting to know, yet does knowing have to come through religion? Will I never know what my purpose is because I do not quite believe? So many questions...
I'm looking forward to reading more of Irving's work.

Anonymous said...

For more excellent Irving, check out The World According to Garp and A Widow for One Year. Both are super.

This book was incredible - parallels Fifth Business (my favourite book of all time - so far) in several ways. Incredible storyteller...

Anonymous said...

this post is very usefull thx!

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