Well, there certainly are a lot of folks that say when I read the first sentence, I was drawn into a book I knew I would love. Those people love rainy days, scrapbooking, picking strawberries and Caitlyn Jenner. The Illuminado don’t go for that sap. Owen Meany is a fine book for discussion, but the next edition should cut about 200-pages out. Pruning it a bit won’t diminish your opinion of the wrestling coach who wrote it. The dude can rastle and write…it’s just that in this instance he may have written far too much.
There are many intertwining details and themes throughout the book, and one of the most central is that of free will versus fate. Owen has a vision of his future, one which is not completely in his best interests, but rather than taken steps to protect himself, he takes steps to ensure his date with destiny. While Johnny Wheelwright, with no vision of his future, allows fate to act on him by making very few non-Owen directed decisions. Johnny, an aptly described “Joseph,” to Owen’s higher calling, either cements the theme of the power of great friendship between the boyhood buddies or unwittingly becomes an Instrument of God’s Instrument.
You probably won’t enjoy the sojourns to Reagan-era Johnny Milquetoast, now raging self-righteously against America, wrestling with questions of faith, boring his students and practicing his nonpracticing homosexuality full bore. You may find yourself wishing Owen missed “The Shot.” In sum, a well-constructed novel, but long and eccentric enough to test your faith in Irving.