A Prayer for Owen Meany
[Mrs. Merrill] suffered visibly. Her blondness turned to dry straw; her cheeks and nose turned a raw salmon color, her eyes watered—she caught every flu, every common cold there was; no epidemic missed her. Aghast at the loss of her California color, she tried makeup; but this turned her skin to clay. Even in summer, she couldn't tan; she turned so dead white in the winter, there was nothing for her to do in the sun but burn. She was sick all the time, and this cost her her energy; she grew listless; she developed a matronly spread, and the vague, unfocused look of someone over forty who might be sixty—or would be, tomorrow. (3.134)
"Ah, yes, Owen, what was it about the turtledoves?" the Rev. Mr. Wiggin said.
"THEY LOOK LIKE THEY'RE FROM OUTER SPACE," Owen said. "NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE."
"They're doves!" Barb Wiggin said. "Everyone knows what doves are!"
"THEY'RE GIANT DOVES," Owen said. "THEY'RE AS BIG AS HALF A DONKEY. WHAT KIND OF BIRD IS THAT? A BIRD FROM MARS? THEY'RE ACTUALLY KIND OF FRIGHTENING." (4.116-119)
"You're too pale," she told him, actually pinching color into Owen's face.
"OW!" he said.
"The Baby Jesus should be apple-cheeked," she told him. She bent even closer to him and touched the tip of her nose to his nose; quite unexpectedly she kissed him on the mouth. It was not a tender, affectionate kiss; it was a cruel, teasing kiss that startled Owen—he flushed, he turned the rosy complexion Barb Wiggin had desired; tears sprang to his eyes. (5.121-123)