WOSU book critic Kassie Rose returns to Gramercy Books to facilitate a discussion of John Irving’s 2013 bestselling novel, A Prayer For Owen Meany, a PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick. Irving’s beloved book is a coming-of-age tale that ranks among the most cherished American classics, including To Kill a Mockingbirdand Catcher in the Rye.
Eleven-year-old Owen Meany, playing in a summer Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire, hits a foul ball and kills his best friend's mother. Owen doesn't believe in accidents; he believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul is both extraordinary and terrifying. At moments a comic, self-deluded victim, but in the end the principal, tragic actor in a divine plan, Owen Meany is the most heartbreaking hero John Irving has yet created.
Gramercy Store Manager Debbie Boggs lists A Prayer For Owen Meany as one of her top staff picks: “If I could only take one book to a desert island, it would probably be this one. What I want from a novel is first a great story and then nothing short of some insights to the meaning of life. Irving’s best: it’s about friendship, fate, faith, and has the best first sentence to a novel ever written.”
Kassie Rose discusses books with WOSU host Christopher Purdy on All Sides Weekend Books and also reviews books for broadcast. An avid reader and book collector, she is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and the Aldus Society, which is a local chapter of the national Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS). Kassie writes about books on her blog TheLongestChapter.com.