I'm keeping track of how many books I read this year, just for fun. I follow a few reader/writer Facebook pages that ask for a monthly accounting of that number and I am humbled by the sheer numbers of books read by dedicated readers. As of November 1st, I have read fifty books, far below the tally of many, but right on track for me. My yearly total for 2016 was 54 - my goal for 2017 is 60 books. So I need to keep my eye on the prize.
The story is set in the fictional New Hampshire town of Gravesend, a place familiar to anyone who has lived in New England. I was partially raised in New Hampshire, and I recognized the feel of the town immediately: small, quiet, severe and conservative on the surface and bubbling with ebullience and rebellion underneath. The book covers the time between the end of World War II and the Vietnam War, and the story is told in flashbacks, from the point of view of the narrator, Owen's friend John Wheelwright.
Owen Meany is small in stature, oddly made, with a big heart, a sharp intellect, and an outspoken manner. His opinions garner righteous indignation in fellow Gravesend residents, even though they know that Owen is 100% right. Owen's lifelong best friend was John Wheelwright, although Owen was the cause of John's mother's death. If these two facts seem incongruous, you are correct. They are. But A Prayer for Owen Meany is just that, a prayer for his safety, in thanksgiving for his innate goodness, his love and ultimately, his forgiveness.