At 22 years old, I had to have my gall bladder removed which led to me recovering at my aunt's quiet home in the guest room. With staples in my stomach and television never holding much interest to me, boredom had set in. I happened to glance at a book laying on her nightstand and picked it up. Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler was the name and as I read the brief description on the back cover, I normally wouldn't have gave the book another thought. With nothing to do though, I went ahead and opened the first page and by the third page, I was hooked.
The story is wrapped around the main character, Ian, and his family which begins in the 1960's. This family is a well rounded bunch with popular parents, the atheletic older brother, the all American sister, Ian the care-free teenager, and the wonderful neighbors, along with the family dog. Events begin to unfold that aren't out of the ordinary, and even if Ian pauses a moment himself to question his family's happiness, they just continue on with their wonderful lives. Until a tragic event occurs that changes each family member drastically and none are ever the same.
Ian blames himself for the tragedy and feels guilt that he shares with nobody. It seems to him that each event afterward is an aftermath of the first horrible event he blames himself for. So, he continues to carry around more self loathing and desperately tries to find a way to rid himself of this burden. On his search for forgiveness, he stumbles upon a small, somewhat strange church with strict rules and an odd minister. Ian pours his burdens out to the minister and begins a journey within the church to find atonement for his sins. His family doesn't agree with anything he is doing but to him, they do not know what horrible sin he carries around.
This became my favorite book because of the author's beautiful wording, amazing characters, and how I could transport myself to exactly where the characters were in each part. I loved the way she describes Ian's struggle for atonement, yet puts just enough humor in things that the book isn't depressing. The book made me think and out of my collection of books, Saint Maybe has been my favorite book since 1999. I would recommend everyone give this book a chance.
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