Skip to main content
This book is absurd & touching with idiosyncratic characters! Written by John Irving, a great storyteller.
by John Irving
Diminutive Owen Meaney, the social outcast with the high, pinched voice, has an enormous influence on his friend Johnny Wheelwright--not least because the only baseball Owen ever hits causes the death of Johnny's mother. But as Johnny claims, "Owen gave me more than he ever took from me. . . . What did he ever say that wasn't right?" Spookily prescient, convinced that he is an instrument of God, Owen intimidates child and adult alike. Why Johnny "is a Christian because of Owen Meaney" is the novel's central mystery but not its only one: Who, for instance, was Johnny's father? Untangling these knots, the adult Johnny pauses to consider his religious convictions and distaste of American politics in passages that are neither especially persuasive nor effectively integrated into the book. And though Owen is a compelling presence, his power over others is not entirely convincing. Readers will be drawn in by the story of the boys' friendship and by the desire to see some resolution to Johnny's mysteries.
Mary Murphy, Science
In the past, Mary has recommended the following books: