09/09/2003

Saint Maybe (by Anne Tyler)

I'm growing fonder of Anne Tyler's books as I grow older. I was first introduced to them back in the early 1990s, and found them quirky, over-American, and slightly bizarre. Those same features now appeal to me rather more, and while Tyler's novels tend to lack much plot, the characters and pithy observations on life are thought-provoking and sometimes amusing.

'Saint Maybe' is about Ian, the youngest of three siblings in an apparently very ordinary family. Their only strange habit is that they all insist on looking on the bright side of things. Always.

At the age of eighteen, Ian suddenly feels the need to tell his older brother that he thinks is wife is cheating on him - with disastrous results.

Ian is forced to grow up rapidly. He has to quit college, and take on a great deal of responsibility for his family. He feels horribly guilty about what he said to his brother; then, almost by chance, joins a slightly odd church. It gives him a focus for his life, and suggestions for trying to atone for what he did.

Believable people - in an odd kind of way - with Ian showing great maturity as he begins to learn about adult life.

Enjoyable, on the whole. Recommended if you like Anne Tyler's writing.

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