Saint Maybe – Anne Tyler


I picked this book us from the library (in large print! – I quite like large print I wonder if that means I need reading glasses?).

I liked Anne Tyler. I like how her novels focus on more domestic themes – everyday life with all of its complexities.

Here is the book description …

In 1965, the happy Bedloe family is living an ideal, apple-pie existence in Baltimore. Then, in the blink of an eye, a single, tragic event occurs that will transform their lives forever — particularly that of seventeen-year-old Ian Bedloe, the youngest son, who blames himself for the sudden “accidental” death of his older brother.Depressed and depleted, Ian is almost crushed under the weight of an unbearable, secret guilt. Then one crisp January evening, he catches sight of a window with glowing yellow neon, the Church of the Second Chance. He enters and soon discovers that forgiveness must be earned, through a bit of sacrifice and a lot of love.

The characters in this novel are wonderfully portrayed – they all seem to be real (and completely ordinary). This novel is about guilt and atonement, but also about family and where individuals fit into a family and what is required to be part of a family. Ian sacrifices greatly to atone for his brother’s death (which he thinks he caused). He raises his brother’s children (with some help from his parents) which involves giving up college and the life he might have imagined for himself.

‘Right,’ Ian told her. ‘I had both my parents helping, and still it wasn’t easy. A lot of it was just plain boring. Just providing a warm body, just being there; anyone could have done it. And then other parts were terrifying. Kids get into so much! They start to matter so much. Some days I felt like a fireman or a lifeguard or something – all that tedium, broken up by little spurts of high drama.’

I think that’s a fantastic quote about parenting. Sometimes it is boring – admiring the thirtieth picture of a dinosaur for that day, reading yet another Princess story and yet it does matter.

Having said that, I was a bit disappointed with the ending. I wanted something better for Ian – not just more of the same – still living at home (albeit with his wife), looking after another baby and his aging father.

Here’s a study guide …

and it was made into a TV movie

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Filed under Recommended, Serious

One Response to Saint Maybe – Anne Tyler

  1. Pingback: My BookClub Reviews » Blog Archive » The Beginner’s Goodbye – Anne Tyler

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