2nd Book Club! (A Prayer for Owen Meany)

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Vote for one book from the list below.

Poll ended at Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:53 am

Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
0
No votes
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
7
70%
Mark Twain: a Biography - Ron Power
0
No votes
Woody Guthrie: A Life - Joe Klein
3
30%
 
Total votes: 10

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KarenZ
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2nd Book Club! (A Prayer for Owen Meany)

Postby KarenZ » Wed Oct 18, 2006 7:53 am

Folks,

In the poll above, please vote for a book for our next Book Club discussion. The poll will run for 7 days.

KarenZ
Last edited by KarenZ on Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:45 am, edited 3 times in total.
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Sue Ellen
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Postby Sue Ellen » Wed Oct 18, 2006 8:10 am

I'm up for some John Irving.

Sue Ellen
"...I implore you, I entreat you, I challenge you to speak with conviction, to say what you believe, in a manner that bespeaks the determination with which you believe it, because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker, it is not enough these days to "question" authority, you have to speak with it, too."
Taylor Mali, "Like, You Know?"

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Postby wendy » Wed Oct 18, 2006 8:12 am

ditto, though the others would be fun re-reads, too.
-wendy

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Postby paddyinthepub » Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:49 am

The boss has advised me to vote for John Irving's Owen Meany. She has read it twice and loved it. The movie version didn't scratch the surface of the book she said....... but that's another story.
"once we're inside, it's a carnival ride" ~ ellis paul
paddy

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Postby shari » Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:45 am

I'm just gonna keep voting for Woody until we get to read it!

:-)

Shari

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Postby Patti » Wed Oct 18, 2006 7:15 pm

I'll vote for Woody Guthrie too!!

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Postby KarenZ » Thu Oct 19, 2006 2:37 pm

Paddy, glad to see you're planning on joining us this time. :) BTW....you asked last time about using audio books. I think using an audio book is fine.....as a matter of fact, you're giving me ideas. :)

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Postby KarenZ » Sun Oct 22, 2006 10:45 pm

Folks,

Only a couple days left to vote for the book for our second Book Club. Please consider voting and joining in the discussion which will probably begin approximately 4 weeks after the poll ends.

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Postby KarenZ » Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:51 am

One day left to vote folks! :)

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Postby paddyinthepub » Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:06 pm

Just wanna say this before voting ends and reading begins.

I ran this by my wife when the poll began. I knew she had read Owen Meany and the book was here at the house. Before I voted, I told her what we were doing and she asked me for the 4 book titles in the poll.

I easily recalled 3 of the 4 books.......Huck......Twain....Meany.

For the life I couldn't recall what the 4th choice was. No matter...she convinced me that Owen Meany should get my vote. So it did.

Now I can honestly say that after I voted for Meany...I then saw the 4th choice: Woody Guthrie, A LIFE.

Had I not been influenced by her imput on the matter....I know I would have voted for the book on Woody's Life. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that the final poll winner is the book we will read and discuss, and if this book on Woody should somehow get a groundswell of support and votes on this, the final day of voting.......I'd be happy.


So vote early...and vote often....no wait...... :wink:

It's not too late is what I'm trying to say.

Owen Meany looks like the odds on favor right now.

But, that could always change..... :shock:

We'll see.
"once we're inside, it's a carnival ride" ~ ellis paul
paddy

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Postby KarenZ » Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:05 pm

Folks,

Looks like John Irving took the vote this time. Jela, let us know how long we have to read the book and when the discussion will start. :)

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Postby Richard + Jela » Wed Oct 25, 2006 3:58 pm

The date for the start of the discsussion will be Monday 27th November which gives us four and a half weeks - hope that its long enough for everyone.

I haven't read any John Irving books and am looking forward to getting this one - that's the beauty of Book Groups - you get to read authors that you may not have considered for yourself and it broadens your horizons.

If any one of you would like to take a turn at leading off the discussion do please say (I'm very happy to continue but don't want to stop others from taking the lead) - we can take turns.

I need to go off and order the book so happy reading!

Jela

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Postby paddyinthepub » Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:23 pm

Great...thanks Jela...and just a reminder that if we happen to order our copies of Ellis Recommends items....such as this book...thru the link provided here on the site, I think Ellis gets a little of the proceeds from the sale. And that's a good thing.
"once we're inside, it's a carnival ride" ~ ellis paul
paddy

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Postby KarenZ » Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:42 am

Jela,

I'm on page 52 of 500+. At this pace I may have to throw myself on the mercy of the board (where have I heard THAT recently?) and beg for an extension if I don't get some serious reading done over the weekend.

How are the rest of you making out?

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Postby Sue Ellen » Fri Nov 10, 2006 8:24 am

I am rereading this book, but the first go through was when it was published (close to 20 years ago?) I just started chapter two; I think the title is so apropos! I hope Bonnie is reading the book, she'd love it.

Sue Ellen
"...I implore you, I entreat you, I challenge you to speak with conviction, to say what you believe, in a manner that bespeaks the determination with which you believe it, because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker, it is not enough these days to "question" authority, you have to speak with it, too."
Taylor Mali, "Like, You Know?"

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Postby wendy » Fri Nov 10, 2006 2:59 pm

Would you believe that my local library doesn't even have a copy of this book?! I've got it on order, so may have to join Karen in begging the board's indulgence...
-wendy

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Postby paddyinthepub » Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:06 pm

KarenZ wrote:Jela,

I'm on page 52 of 500+. At this pace I may have to throw myself on the mercy of the board (where have I heard THAT recently?) and beg for an extension if I don't get some serious reading done over the weekend.

How are the rest of you making out?

KarenZ



500+ pages ??? :shock:

Who Knew??? :roll:

And since I've yet to begin, I beg more time as well. :oops:
"once we're inside, it's a carnival ride" ~ ellis paul
paddy

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Postby Richard + Jela » Fri Nov 10, 2006 4:29 pm

Okey cokey guys - message received and understood!!!

Lets extend the start date for discussions to Monday 18th December - it'll be a nice run in to Xmas week and who knows when we all get round that table at Passims for New Year we might carry on the discussions there as well ???

Jela

PS My copy only arrived in the post 2 days ago - I ordered via the Amazon link (so that EP gets some credit) which means that I've only just started reading it myself.

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Postby paddyinthepub » Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:26 am

Thanks Jela....December 18th works great for me...... :D That'll give the Geek Squad plenty of time to get Ellis' computer up and running so he can chime in too. :wink:
"once we're inside, it's a carnival ride" ~ ellis paul
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Postby Richard + Jela » Sat Nov 18, 2006 1:59 pm

I was browsing in a book shop this afternoon and noted that 'Prayer for Owen Meany' was one of the featured books which had been picked out by a member of staff and I thought that you'd like to know what they said about it....


Booksellers everywhere will tell you that if you read only one book in your lifetime it should be this one. Wonderfully funny and deeply sad, I can guarantee it will change the way you see the world


Looks like we chose a good 'un to read as a group.

Jela

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Postby KarenZ » Sat Nov 18, 2006 3:21 pm

Jela,

Wow....that is quite a quote. I'm glad we're reading this book too! And I'm happy to report that I'm on page 127! Woo hoo! (I may be finished by Dec. 18.) ;)

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Postby KarenZ » Sun Nov 26, 2006 8:07 am

Well, although I feel a little weird replying to myself, I have to say I'm glad we're NOT starting the book club discussion tomorrow as originally planned, since I just passed the half-way point! I've managed to get through a good bit this Thanksgiving weekend with the additonal time off from work.....and finally feel like I've gotten into it. It's been a struggle getting here. I find myself laughing out loud a good bit. Owen Meany says the funniest things. :)

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Postby wendy » Mon Nov 27, 2006 8:43 am

Ah, I'm very nearly done... need to find some uninterrupted time to process that last chapter, though.
I'm really enjoying this book. Kind of like a blend of Ray Bradbury (Dandelion Wine) and William Soroyan (Human Comedy) with some other favorites tossed in. Can't wait for the discussion to begin! :-)
-wendy

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Postby SusanH » Fri Dec 01, 2006 2:50 pm

I'm about 125 pages in...and I don't know if anyone else is having trouble with this or if it's just me.

I know this book was written before the internet and email; and they did it to empahsize Owens funny voice...BUT the fact that every single syllable, word, utterance is written in CAPS is bugging the heck out of me.

Somebody stop Owen from screaming at me!
Susan

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Postby Richard + Jela » Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:22 am

Susan - like you I found this (Owen's voice in capitals) irritating at first but as I got into the book I actually found myself scanning the page before reading it to see if Owen was going to speak.

Some of the things he says are just priceless so now I look forward to the CAPITALS

By the way I'm on page 349.

Jela

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Postby KarenZ » Mon Dec 04, 2006 9:34 am

Jela,

Freaky. My bookmark is between pages 344-345. Do you think we can finish be Dec. 18? :)

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Postby Richard + Jela » Mon Dec 04, 2006 10:20 am

Karen - this is such a busy time of year so finishing it by the 18th Dec might be a bit of a challenge for us and others as well. Its such a long book and its only right that everyone has the time to read it without feeling pressured by the deadline.

So I'm going to extend the deadline to the New Year and as I'm going to be away over New Year (going to some concerts somewhere across the water) I'll kick the discussion off on Friday 5th Jan 2007.

Hope that this is ok with all you readers.

Jela

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Postby KarenZ » Mon Dec 04, 2006 11:44 am

Oh Jela! Thanks again! :)

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Postby Sue Ellen » Mon Dec 04, 2006 12:12 pm

THANK GOD FOR SMALL MERCIES.
"...I implore you, I entreat you, I challenge you to speak with conviction, to say what you believe, in a manner that bespeaks the determination with which you believe it, because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker, it is not enough these days to "question" authority, you have to speak with it, too."
Taylor Mali, "Like, You Know?"

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Postby KarenZ » Mon Dec 04, 2006 12:15 pm

Oh Sue Ellen. You sound just like Own Meany! :D

I wonder what it would be like listening to the audio-book version??? :)

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Postby Richard + Jela » Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:19 pm

I keep wondering who might play Owen Meany in a film of the book.....has it ever been made into a film?

Jela

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Postby paddyinthepub » Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:46 pm

Jela,

In fact the book was made into a movie titled Simon Birch.

The character name change from Owen Meany to Simon Birch was the suggestion of the author John Irving.

Owen Meany/Simon Birch was played by Ian Michael Smith.

The film was released in 1998.
"once we're inside, it's a carnival ride" ~ ellis paul
paddy

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Postby KarenZ » Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:33 am

Ooohh....thanks for the heads-up Paddy. I may have to get the movie after I finish reading the book. I think I managed to read about 4 pages last night before the eyes started to blur.... :)

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Postby paddyinthepub » Tue Dec 05, 2006 9:16 am

I remember my wife saying after seeing Simon Birch that the book
was way better. In the movie's defense, which I did not see, the
story is less a movie version of the book and more a story based
loosely on John Irving's novel and main character.

They do that sometimes, don't they?
"once we're inside, it's a carnival ride" ~ ellis paul
paddy

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Postby Richard + Jela » Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:46 am

Paddy, thanks and I will have to try and see if I can get hold of a copy of the film (assuming it had a UK release) but not before I've finished reading the book.

Jela

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Postby paddyinthepub » Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:27 am

Jela, Karen, and all on this thread and discussion.....it might be fun, once the book discussion is long past....to perhaps add a few more words on the movie in a compare/contrast kind of way.

I've heard all too often the words...the book is way better....after
enjoying a movie based upon a book.

I guess they're just two different animals.
"once we're inside, it's a carnival ride" ~ ellis paul
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Postby Richard + Jela » Fri Jan 05, 2007 5:37 am

Discussion Day has arrived and I thought I'd start by asking for general comments on the book, which I know has been a challenging read.

This was the first John Irving book that I have read so don't know if its typical or not. I found it a little hard to get into to begin with and I think that that may have been because I was only reading for a short period at a time. Once I got into the book I really enjoyed it and kept wondering what Owen's 'destiny' was going to be. The running thread throughout was that he firmly believed that he had been put on earth as 'God's instrument' and although he had vivid dreams of how he was going to die, the reader was not made party to the dream/s so that kept me wondering throughout and spurred me on to finish the book to satisfy my own curiosity - a clever ploy by Irving.

Very early on I felt a lot of sympathy for Owen; the picture of him being picked up and passed around by classmates at school, making him lose the contents of his pockets, particularly the cards that he had so carefully sorted, got to me and made me want to 'fight his corner' from thereon in.

There are so many issues the book raises, some serious, some extremely funny and I shall look forward to discussing them here, once the general thoughts and comments about the book have been shared.

Jela

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Postby KarenZ » Fri Jan 05, 2007 6:46 am

It's TODAY? I was thinking we had until Monday! I have about 30 pages to go! I promise I'll try to finish it today and jump in when I can. I brought it with me to Boston planning to read on the plane, etc. and didn't even crack it open! What's up with that? :D

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Postby wendy » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:01 am

Gosh, let's hope I can type this before the system has another hiccup! Already lost it twice... (and still not willing to do the copy/paste thing) :roll:

Thanks for beginning this, Jela! I'm afraid I finished this book so long ago that I've probably forgotten much of what was so clear and important at the time. (it was at least 6 books ago... some of you reading-junkies will understand)

The thing that remains most clear (and just leapt from the pages at me while reading) were the historical links to today. I'm sure they were not intentional, since the book was published in 1987, but the political garbage being documented in the book was like reading a current newspaper! Moral: "We" NEVER learn from history, do we? :shock: Holy cow.

I'll leave it at that for now, before this thing crashes again. I really enjoyed the book, though, despite having to remind myself to stop grinding my teeth at the politics...
-wendy

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Postby KarenZ » Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:56 pm

OK....I finished it about 30 minutes ago. Whew. That was a tough one for me to get through for some reason. I don't think I ever got to a spot where I couldn't/didn't want to put it down. If it weren't for our Book Club, I may not have continued plodding through.

Now that I finally know the ending and how Owen died, I actually have to let it "settle" a bit. I'm not sure what I think! I know it made me laugh out loud at several points...."THE TURTLE DOVES LOOK LIKE CREATURES. LIKE THEY'VE BEEN ELECTROCUTED." That was one. :)

Early on, I made a note of pages containing passages that held special meaning to me. Having just re-read them, they hold even more meaning to me since this past weekend in Boston! The first one I noted was something Johnny Wheelwright said in the chapter "The Armadillo." He said, "That was when I first began to think about certain events or specific things as being "important" and having "special purpose."

And in the chapter "The Voice," these couple sentences from Owen struck me: YOU CAN'T TAKE A MIRACLE AND JUST SHOW IT! YOU CAN'T PROVE A MIRACLE - YOU JUST HAVE TO BELIEVE IT!

I just kinda have to let it all gel a bit....

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Postby Sue Ellen » Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:08 am

This was a re-read for me. I remember looking forward eagerly to this book, because through high school and college I was a huge John Irving fan: Garp, Hotel New Hampshire, Cider House Rules. When I got to the Christmas Paegent scene, I remembered why I disliked it so much. Unlike Jela, I have very little sympathy for Owen Meany, especially as he gets older. I think he had a cruel streak in him, that he justified with his belief that he was "God's Instrument." I think he rationalized his poor treatment of others because of his "destiny," and I think he created a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I also wondered, from the very beginning, if Johnny is an accurate voice. Especially glimpsing his idiosyncracies as an adult, I think his understanding of events, tones, nuances in his relationships, especially since the time OWEN MEANY KILLED his mother, is faulty.

I think this is a fairly typicaly John Irving piece, the New England setting, the vivid scenes, the length, and even what I see as a self-fulfilling prophecy. I remember in the midst of Hotel New Hampshire something very similar occurred (I think I even remember the chapter, "Sorrow Floats").

I'm looking forward to further discussion.
Last edited by Sue Ellen on Tue Jan 09, 2007 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
"...I implore you, I entreat you, I challenge you to speak with conviction, to say what you believe, in a manner that bespeaks the determination with which you believe it, because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker, it is not enough these days to "question" authority, you have to speak with it, too."
Taylor Mali, "Like, You Know?"

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Postby wendy » Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:11 am

All the quotes I have marked are fairly controversial. :roll:

My favorite is toward the end of the book in the chapter "The Shot":
Watch out for people who call themselves religious; make sure you know what they mean - make sure they know what they mean!


What a Truth! :shock:
-wendy

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Postby Richard + Jela » Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:41 am

I think that I also sympathised with the character because he was different, very small stature and an unusual voice, these aspects made him stand out from his peers; initially I think this probably made Owen try all the harder to get accepted/heard.

When you are young you just want to be like all the other children in your class, anything that makes you different is really uncomfortable to deal with and it is such differences that often leads to children being ostracised at school and not having many friends. This can then lead to a lack of self esteem, low confidence and poor social skills which no doubt manifest themselves in behaviour and attitude towards others. I also think Owen suffered because there seemed to be a lack of parental guidance about how to behave. His mother was a distant figure - we don't really know what was wrong with her and his relationship with his father was also virtually non-existent.

Owen did treat some people awfully and others (like Johnny for the most part, Johnny's mother and grandmother) he treated well. What was it about certain relationships that prompted differering behaviours?

Jela

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Postby KarenZ » Mon Jan 08, 2007 1:04 pm

I've been wondering about John Irving's title for the book. What do you think he means by "a prayer for Owen Meany?" If Owen was some kind of divine and/or God-like being, did he need prayers? Of course, it could mean a prayer of thanksgiving for Owen Meany....

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Postby Sue Ellen » Tue Jan 09, 2007 5:42 am

This medium is a challenge; having a linear discussion is difficult when so many interesting thoughts have already been raised.

Jela wrote:

I think that I also sympathised with the character because he was different, very small stature and an unusual voice, these aspects made him stand out from his peers; initially I think this probably made Owen try all the harder to get accepted/heard.


and

Owen suffered because there seemed to be a lack of parental guidance about how to behave


Certainly these issues and environment presented and shaped Owen's personality, but there is a streak of cruelty and lack of empathy that bothers me. In addition, the unconditional love Johnny and his mom gave to him did not seem to have any impact in his general approach to life and others. At what point can one be expected to become responsible in there manner with others? Owen's negative judgement of others is unrelenting, and he seemed to consistently respond to the most negative skew an interaction or event could take. He acted as if he had no personal choice in his life, that it was all destined, and that he had no responsibility. I think this is why is dislike his character so strongly.

Wendy wrote:My favorite is toward the end of the book in the chapter "The Shot":
Quote:
Watch out for people who call themselves religious; make sure you know what they mean - make sure they know what they mean!


Owen seemed absolutely fanatically to me, and rigid in his beliefs. He seems to be the type against whom he is urging caution.

Finally,
Karen wrote:I've been wondering about John Irving's title for the book. What do you think he means by "a prayer for Owen Meany?" If Owen was some kind of divine and/or God-like being, did he need prayers? Of course, it could mean a prayer of thanksgiving for Owen Meany....


Yes, why a prayer for Owen? Was this John's prayer of Thanksgiving? And if so, why? Is he thankful for the faith Owen instilled in him? It seems like a painful faith, that lacks joy in living, and in fact the adult John is so dissociated from life and others that he seems to have completely disengaged from the experience and opportunities and joy that is the gift of life. And look at the name: Owen MEANY. That seems like quite the paradox.

So I guess I'm left with the question, as I was fifteen years ago: Was Owen's life destiny, pre-ordained by the Creator and the Universe, or was it a psychotic delusion, perpetuated by his parents, that culminated in a self-fulling prophecy?
"...I implore you, I entreat you, I challenge you to speak with conviction, to say what you believe, in a manner that bespeaks the determination with which you believe it, because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker, it is not enough these days to "question" authority, you have to speak with it, too."
Taylor Mali, "Like, You Know?"

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Postby wendy » Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:26 am

Great recap, Sue Ellen. You're right: this is a bit difficult.

I suspect the delimma
So I guess I'm left with the question, as I was fifteen years ago: Was Owen's life destiny, pre-ordained by the Creator and the Universe, or was it a psychotic delusion, perpetuated by his parents, that culminated in a self-fulling prophecy?
is what John Irving intended. Those are good questions to ask, not just about this book, but about life!

My guess on the title refers to THE prayer requested by Owen and offered by Rev. Merrill on stage with the statue chained to the podium (chpt. The Dream). It could just as well refer to many of the perplexing things we find in Owen's story that might benefit from prayer...

On a slightly different tack, don't miss looking back at the quotes at the book's beginning. I think they may help to interpret how this story developed.
Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Not the least of my problems is that I can hardly even imagine what kind of experience a genuine, self-authenticating religious experience would be. Without somehow destroying me in the process, how could God reveal himself in a way that would leave no room for doubt? If there were no room for doubt, there would be no room for me.

Any Christian who is not a hero is a pig.


Thoughts? Comments?
-wendy

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Postby bonuela » Tue Jan 09, 2007 11:36 am

I am not being anti social. I apparently can't keep the info in my brain long enough to participate in a discussion. :oops:

I did not read this book because I was so dissappointed in myself after the last book club thread. :?

For the next book, can we post about it as we go along and people will not go into the thread until they are done? This way we can write while things are fresh.
I let my music take me where my heart wants to go. ~ Cat Stevens

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Postby SusanH » Tue Jan 09, 2007 1:28 pm

Hi All-

I must say I was disappointed in this book. I just couldn't get into it. I didn't really like any of the main characters, esp. John. He was just so...blah. And as noted before, the CAPITALIZATION of Owen made me crazy. I just kept thinking..stop yelling, you little twit.

I love to read but this book I had to take out of the library 3 times before I finished it.

Sorry folks.

I do look forward to the next book discussion, and I think Bonnie has a great idea, post as we go along, because I know I forget stuff. If you don't want the ending spoiled, just don't reat the thread.

Good idea Bonnie.
Susan

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Postby Richard + Jela » Tue Jan 09, 2007 1:50 pm

My feeling about ‘the prayer’ is similar to that outlined by Wendy in that it was the one offered up by the Reverend although I also wonder if the title is aimed at the reader to pray for Owen because we know that he’s going to die. One thing that now strikes me about his ‘anticipated death’ is that I do not recall any time scale ever being mentioned however the distinct impression I gained was that he would die young – he could so easily have lived for a much longer time. I think that Irving is very clever in the way he leads the reader's thoughts down a particular path.

As to Wendy’s comments, I am not religious and therefore do not regard God in the way that Owen does and certainly take issue with the quote that ‘
any Christian who is not a hero is a pig’
What’s his definition of a hero? Come to that what’s his definition of a pig? Many people carry out small but significant acts of kindness; they may not be regarded as heroes in the general sense but probably are heroes to those upon whose lives they impact.

Bonnie and Susan, I note what you say about posting comments as we go along, my own preference is to wait until the book has been read before discussing it as a group but I’m happy to go with the group preference on this. If the majority want to post as they go then that’ll be ok. How I would refrain from peeking at the posts is another matter!!! It might be too much of a temptation!

Jela

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Postby KarenZ » Tue Jan 09, 2007 3:43 pm

Folks,

I'm still trying to decide what I think (overall) about this book. I'm going to re-read a few passages tonight and try to post something coherent.

I do think we should wait until we all finish a book before discussing. Owen Meany (I hope) is an anomaly in that it was such a long book PLUS everyone was so busy with the holidays and Boston travel plans. :) If we try to stick to a 1-month period to read a book, the speed-readers won't be bored waiting for the slow-readers to finish. ;)

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.


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