Tag Archives: A Prayer for Owen Meany

Three strikes

No doubt — John Irving wrote it better.

In A Prayer for Owen Meany, a woman gets hit by a baseball, dies, and her son and the boy who hit the killer ball remain best friends throughout their lives.

When it happens in real life, folks are a bit more litigious.

A New Jersey woman who was struck in the face by a baseball is suing the 11-year old catcher who hit her for medical costs and negligence.  Her husband is filing a separate suit for the loss of “services, society and consortium” of his wife.

The total damages?  Close to $500,000.

The catcher’s family, who says they can’t afford the jury trial the woman has demanded, thinks Little League Baseball should help defray court costs since the accident took place during a sanctioned warm-up.

I think they should call Irving.  Maybe he can do a rewrite and give this story some heart.

A good read

The fifth sentence from page 56.

That’s how folks are honoring National Book Week on Facebook — grabbing the book closest at hand and posting that random phrase.

I thought I would go one step further and talk up one of my favorite books.  Not my ‘desert island book’ — A Prayer for Owen Meany, which I have lauded here before — but a book by Mario Puzo that did not achieve the commercial success of the Godfather saga.

I have read and re-read The Fourth K countless times since its 1990 publication.  Although it was a commercial failure, Puzo called it his “most ambitious novel.”  I would argue it is his most imaginative.

The novel follows the Presidency of Francis Xavier Kennedy, the fictional nephew of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Ted Kennedy. On an Easter Sunday at the end of his first term of office, the Pope is assassinated and Kennedy’s daughter is taken hostage and murdered.  Soon after, a nuclear device is discovered in midtown Manhattan.

The crises have a fundamental effect on the President’s approach to governing, and impact his decision to seek re-election.  But many question his ability to lead after his daughter’s death and attempt to invoke the 25th Amendment.

It’s an exciting, edge-of-your-seat read, and I think it would make an incredible film.

But it’s National Book Week, so I’ll say it — the book would be better.

Friends o’ mine

A friend on Twitter — who am I kidding; she’s a sitcom writer that I follow — tweeted one night that she couldn’t sleep.  Instead, she was writing down the names of movie characters that she wished were real so that they could be her friends.

(That’s the kind of thing TV writers do.  It no doubt spawns great ideas for story lines the next day.)

So, I started thinking — what characters from fiction do I wish were real?  And immediately, my favorite book of all time popped into my head:

A Prayer for Owen Meany

I have never loved a book more.  I have read and re-read it and discovered something new each time.  It’s the book I would choose — if forced to choose just one — and Owen is the reason why.

Owen is real to me.  I can hear his damaged voice.  I can see his small, misshapen body.  I can feel his isolation from his frightened family and the immense guilt he carries every day after the freakish accident that kills his best friend’s mother.

I first read A Prayer for Owen Meany at a time when I desperately needed to believe that things in life happen for a reason.  Owen helped me not only to believe, but to accept the very hardest things — things I wasn’t sure at the time that I could survive.

I may not need Owen as much today, but I still want him around.  He’s one of my best friends.

Okay, back to Twitter.  Need to see what my pseudo-friend is yapping about today.