The Red Couch: A Prayer for Owen Meany introduction


What’s your favorite novel?

Answers to this question vary but there’s nothing quite like the heartbeat of recognition when someone answers with the name of your favorite novel. You understand each other in a way that others with different favorite novels do not. You are brought together by a shared love of the characters, plot, and themes. You can go deeper into the book’s insights and analysis.

It’s only a book and yet it’s so much more.

John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany has been my favorite novel for over 15 years and possibly longer than that. I’ve read it enough times, I no longer remember whether I first read it in high school or college. But surely before I turned 20.

The story is well worn and familiar but I am always moved by the same parts when I read it once more.

Still, fiction is subjective, as I noted last month. You may feel differently about Owen Meany than I do and if so, I promise I’ll try not to judge you. Much. (Kidding, kidding.)


A Prayer for Owen Meany, from the Amazon description:

I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice—not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.

In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy’s mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn’t believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary.


While not a Christian book, it is rich with spiritual undertones and Christological references. No matter what you think about it, there’s no forgetting a character like Owen Meany. This one is sure to generate good discussion by the time we’re through.

Come back Wednesday August 27 for a discussion post led by Shawn Smucker. Join the Facebook group to share quotes and discuss the book throughout the month. On Twitter, the official Red Couch Book Club hashtag is #redcouchbc.


What’s your favorite novel?

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