Review: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

How does one review this book? Looking at near 250k ratings and over 10k reviews on Goodreads.com I reckon I don’t have to. However, you all know I’m a glutton for punishment so I will say a few words…

With all the foreshadowing in the first 100 pages of the book you can pretty much figure out how it’s to end…you might even think you know the whys. I mean it’s all there…however, as in life, this book demonstrates that it’s all in the details…and in perhaps what is never said as well…

This book made me laugh out loud in more than a few places. It’s a wonderful telling about two boys growing up. How they help one another in ways that they are unable to even ask for. I found at times I was a bit irritated with the back and forth of the memories. The 1st person narrator would have a memory and then the novel would go back in time to expand on that memory. As the novel progressed and I became used to this, it really proved interesting. Especially since many of the memories were reminisced over a few times. Experiencing something vs looking back at a memory vs looking back at a memory after a traumatic event can all be very different experiences for the same person. “After the fact” we can all imagine how things might have been different if we had picked up on the clues we were given.

I should note that this is a novel full of wonderful secondary characters. Some of them truly do help make this an extraordinary read.

I admit, Owen really annoyed me during much of the novel…however, some part of me thinks that’s part of the point.

I also leave myself wondering how different Johnny would be if Owen was still his best mate living down the street. Or if Owen hadn’t thrown that ball…

Finally, I have to say that at times I might have wished greatly that this book would just move along faster. The slow pace was just as annoying as Owen was. Reading this book really was a test of my discipline. Some novels are just like that for me…My reward wasn’t the ending….it was all the time spent with so many wonderful characters, getting to know them in a way that just wouldn’t have been possible if the novel was written any other way…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

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Review: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

I’m not sure how to review this novel. Seeing so many of my friends have given this book high ratings but no reviews makes me think that perhaps it’s not just me‽

I had a really hard time getting past the grandparents. It kinda challenged my commitment to not judge other’s personal choices. The same with the parents I guess, not to the same degree, but there was still a bit of taking myself to task for some of my thoughts.

Also, I realised at some point that I might expect too much of fictional characters. I mean, I found the grandfather really weak and unlikable at times…especially at the start. However, maybe I was expecting Lefty to be this perfect literary character and not an actual person. At some point, Lefty did become real to me…and all those things that really irritated me and made me really dislike him at the start turned things around and made him real to me.

That’s what Eugenides did for me in this novel. He made all of these characters seem like every day people. He made them into my neighbours. Liking them, even though I didn’t really know what was going on behind closed doors (of course, being the reader we actually DID know what was going on).

Since I can’t really think of how to review this novel, I’ll tell you that the blurb on the cover does a nice job explaining what the plot of the novel is about. But to understand this novel…well no review can do that…no summery can do that. You really have to meet Callie/Cal to understand why this novel is so amazing.

I’m not sure the moment when Callie realised that she was different. Or when Cal realised that he was real. But he does a wonderful job at the end summing it up. Gender does not define us. We are who we are…and Cal, along with all of his family are just wonderful…faults, and non-faults alike…simply wonderful…again, gender doesn’t define us….try to remember that next time if you’re the type to judge…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Review: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

What an interesting novel. I’m not even sure how to explain it. I’m not even sure what happened really. However, what I am sure of is that I loved it. I was captivated by it. I want to read more about Ruth and Nao. I was sad when the novel finished. I won’t lie. Parts of the novel really sickened me and made me extremely sad for humanity. There are some really horrible instances of bullying and at times Nao and her father continued to break my heart over and over and over again. I wanted to grab them both and hug them and never let go. Of course, I am sure this would have freaked them both out equally, but I would have just held on until hopefully, their discomfort eased.

If you’re looking for a book that fits nicely into a box where everything ties together and it all comes together at the end then this isn’t the book for you. But…if you’re looking for a book that’s imaginative in a way that isn’t able to be placed in a box, one that will make you sad, happy, having you laughing out loud at times, and cringing at other times, then this might very well be the book for you!

After finishing the last page, I read the blurp for the book, and really it does sum it up rather nicely…

“Full of Ozeki’s signature humour and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.”

I’ll definitely be looking for more of Ozeki in the future!

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now a tale for the time being ruth ozeki