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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worshipping at the alter of Anne Tyler
Written in 1991 this is vintage Anne Tyler and one of my favourites from among her many novels. It's the story of the Bledoe family from Baltimore (where else?) and in particular their son Ian. Often in her books there are some really unexpected plot twists and in this one there is a really big bombshell really early on in the story which completely changes the perceived...
Published on 1 Aug 2008 by G. E. Harrison

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars What's the point?
Read dutifully for a book club. My description was like madeira cake - not horrible but what's the point. Many in the club did like it but for me tedious to the point that I did not finish it.
Published 3 months ago by Janet


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worshipping at the alter of Anne Tyler, 1 Aug 2008
By 
G. E. Harrison (Cheltenham, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Saint Maybe (Paperback)
Written in 1991 this is vintage Anne Tyler and one of my favourites from among her many novels. It's the story of the Bledoe family from Baltimore (where else?) and in particular their son Ian. Often in her books there are some really unexpected plot twists and in this one there is a really big bombshell really early on in the story which completely changes the perceived direction of the book. We see Ian and the family trying to come to terms with two tragedies, coping with guilt and finally picking up the pieces and realising that life must go on. This is all done through Anne Tyler's usual examination of the minutiae of daily family life and, despite some of the scenes being very emotional and involving young children, she handles it very well, without being too sentimental - although it will definitely have you both laughing and crying. In addition to the well-drawn characters in the family we are also introduced to some of Tyler's wonderful, eccentric minor characters both in the Church of the Second Chance and in the neighbourhood. The scope of Anne Tyler's books is always very narrow - usually family sagas in suburban Baltimore - but this narrow world is perfectly peopled and narrated and it's always a real pleasure to enter her world.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer Perfection, 28 July 2009
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hiljean (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Saint Maybe (Paperback)
I've read most of Anne Tyler's novels and this remains one of my very favourites. The best books aren't the ones where you can't wait to turn the page but the ones, like this, where you want to linger over and savour every word. No wonder John Updike was a fan of hers, she writes so well.

What is exceptional about her, though, is that she is able to take the lives of "ordinary" people and show how extraordinary they are and bring her characters utterly to life on the page. In fact she shows that there is no such thing as an ordinary person, or an ordinary life. Above all her humanity shines through. She helps us see how important it is to accept others for what they are. Her "heroes" are always flawed but real, struggling like the rest of us to get through life and to remain hopeful.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 21 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Saint Maybe (Paperback)
Anne Tyler always manages to make ordinary people's messy lives seem exceptional. There is tragedy and humour in this book,as Ian grows from a naive youth to a wise man. This is my favourite book of hers so far. In contrast to other reviewers, I couldn't put it down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling. Must-read., 8 Oct 2011
By 
H. Petre "hpoet" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Saint Maybe (Paperback)
I have read most of the Anne Tyler novels, and personally I would consider this to be one of her best. Away from the book, when I wasn't actually reading, I was thinking about the characters. The plot has been outlined by other reviewers, so no need to go into that again. One of the more endearing aspects of this novel was the "home-made religion" of the Church of the Second Chance and its all-too-human congregation and minister. I'm not one for religion, but it seems to have provided a lifeline for Ian at his hour of crisis. It was a pleasure to read of Ian and Daphne's development throughout the novel, and I"ll be sorry to say goodbye to them, even though they are in safe hands!
As an afterword, I'm a Brit, and after reading several novels by this author, I finally googled the word "afghan" as in "The children were squabbling over the afghan". I thought it must have been one of those 70s hippy coats! Nope, it Baltimore at least, it's a type of knitted or crocheted blanket.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not so Saint... but Maybe... :), 22 Sep 2009
This review is from: Saint Maybe (Paperback)
Another totally absorbing and fascinating read from Anne Tyler's hand. It seems that in every one of her books I learn something about certain facets of life I didn't even know I wanted to know.... Such is Tyler's magic; you get drawn into her story and what you read really gets a life of its own. Every one of her books makes you sit up, you wonder, you ponder, you sigh, cry.... and my personal opinion is that ANNE TYLER is one of the absolutely very best writer I have EVER come across. I shall - little by little - get all her other books I haven't read yet. I am in the lucky position of not yet having read ALL her books and I am immensely looking forward to those treasures still waiting to be discovered!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars scenes from family life covering a 20 year time frame - humorous and wise, 30 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Saint Maybe (Paperback)
Ian Bedlow, the Saint Maybe of the title, atones for his part in the death of his brother and sister-in-law by brining up the children who have been orphaned by the deaths.

As with other Anne Tyler novels, there is here a full measure of the interest of everyday life, focussed in this case on the brining up of children, in all its humour and its pathos and its idiosyncracies with scenes of family life spread over a 20 year time frame (humour and idiosyncracy here notably in the persons of the 'foreigners' who particularly enliven the retirement of Ian's father-in-law: apparently Anne Tyler is married to a foreigner. Though there's also a memorable scene in which a character refers to the Church of the Second Chance as the Church of the Second Rate).

I enjoyed reading this more than some of Anne Tyler's other novels (notably the Clock Winder) and less than some others (notably Digging to America and The Accidental Tourist). For me the question for each of her novels is how persuasive I've found the basic plot that gives rise to the episodes of everyday life - in this case, yes I can believe Ian Bedlow could play that part in the deaths, and yes he would want to atone, and just maybe this would come in large life-determining part by joining the Church of the Second Chance...
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My all-time favourite book, 10 Sep 2001
By 
J. Murray (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Saint Maybe (Paperback)
... this book is completely absorbing, humerous and if I ever in my life read a better book, I'll be glad. I'm not going to write one of those clever reviews analysing the writing style and meaning of the book but please read this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 4 July 2014
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This review is from: Saint Maybe (Paperback)
Never read an Anne Tyler that I wouldn't recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars muddling through, 16 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Saint Maybe (Paperback)
Five stars for this gentle and unassuming novel that made a deep impression on me.
One of Anne Tyler's great strengths is her sympathetic portrayals of young men, often troubled, alienated or lost in some way. Barnaby in ‘Patchwork Planet’, Jesse in ‘Breathing Lessons’ and Ian in this novel are all shown as failing or disaffected but strong enough, in the end, to overcome their problems. Very few female novelists are able to get inside the minds of young men and bring them to life so convincingly.
Writing about ‘Saint Maybe’, Anne Tyler said that she wanted to create a central character with a religious faith, even though she has none herself. She wanted to get inside their head. She does so very convincingly and it’s an interesting journey if you also have no religious belief.

I am less convinced by the comparisons often made between Tyler and Jane Austen or Updike. She has a unique voice and take on the world and though the lives of her protagonists are often as messy as those in Updike, she is far less anger-fuelled than he is. Her America is generally safe and sane. As for Austen and her small canvas minutely depicted, well Tyler’s is small too but more forgiving and tolerant. She isn’t a satirist. Perhaps Anthony Trollope might be a better comparison if you need one. His gentle novels show human beings as neither good nor bad but journeying through life as best they can. Muddling through.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read., 11 Jan 2014
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Laugh, cry and turn the pages. This is such a wonderful and interesting story. I am biased as I am an Ann Tyler fan. If you fancy a great read give it a try.
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Saint Maybe
Saint Maybe (Unknown Binding - 1991)
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