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Saint Maybe

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,784 Ratings  ·  536 Reviews
Tyler makes things look so easy that she never gets enough credit, yet she portrays everyday Americans with such humor, grace and, ultimately, emotional force that her books are always deeply satisfying. In Saint Maybe her protagonist Ian Bedloe, stricken with guilt over the death of his older brother, raises three children unrelated to him by blood. He is strengthened in ...more
Published 2003 by Penguin Canada (first published 1991)
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Mo Ringey-gareau I have read a lot of her books and, to me, this one was less engaging and riveting than the others. I found ladder of years especially to be more…moreI have read a lot of her books and, to me, this one was less engaging and riveting than the others. I found ladder of years especially to be more compelling with more fleshed-out characters. (less)
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Nov 27, 2011 Jared rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading the back-of-the-book synopsis, I expected Saint Maybe to be a sort of grace-centered retread of 1980's Ordinary People, in which a teenager struggles to come to terms with the death of his older, "better" brother (for which he feels partially responsible) with the help of a compassionate psychiatrist. As it happened, there are some superficial parallels, but thematically it turned out to have more in common with 2007's Atonement. (And, for the record, I know that both of the films I've m ...more
Oct 05, 2009 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Reading Anne Tyler can be a daring experience. It's as if you have to endure your clothes being taken away and your bare skin exposed. Her insight is scary - and I'm sure I'm not the only reader who feels she is writing about me, my thoughts and my motivations.

Saint Maybe is at once both her most depressing yet uplifting novel. In a moment of intense frustration, a seventeen year old boy makes a mistake – he blurts out an accusation to his brother that taken in a rational light in the best of si
Mike (the Paladin)
Jan 05, 2013 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I would like to say a lot about this book, but some of it would undoubtedly contain spoilers. I had to consider carefully before rating it, it comes very close (for me) to a 5 star rating. As has been said before, were there half stars I'd go 4.5 easily here.

First, this isn't the typical type book that I usually read or that usually appeals to me. We follow Ian through most of his life, his lack of wisdom, the decisions he makes, their consequences... I picked this book up because I saw (and lik
Nandakishore Varma
There is a special category of movie in India, called "Family Film": these deal entirely with matters inside a big "joint" family (where all the siblings live together with their parents in their ancestral home, either matrilineal or patrilineal). In the first quarter of the movie, something will happen to disturb the tranqulity of its existence, and the whole of the remaining is spent in resolving the issue. The movie typically has a tragicomic ending, and leaves the audience with a gooey senti ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Reading the first couple of chapters (which make up almost 25% of the book's length), I thought, "this is the darkest Anne Tyler I've ever read." I didn't know in those first chapters who would turn out to be the main character of the novel. I can truthfully say I was happy with her choice.

Tyler's main characters usually have a life problem to resolve. What I like most about her novels is the creativeness she employs in giving them a means of resolution. I also like that there are characters who
Marie Brian
Jul 27, 2008 Marie Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Marie by: Holly
This is really an exceptional book. Every time I read a book by Tyler I am surprised by how keen she is at portraying human nature. And what really amazes me is how she can do this without judgment. Her writing is beautiful and so life-affirming. I feel better for having read Saint Maybe.

Dec 21, 2013 Tonya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ann Tyler is amazing and yet again she didn't disappoint. I marvel at how she can let you right into that character's head space. You can feel every heartbeat.

This book is heartbreaking, comical and closer to real life than we would like to admit. If you've never read Tyler, then this is a good place to start.

The Bedloes are a typical, all-American family living in Baltimore until a tragedy occurs. Ian Bedloe tells his brother, Danny, about some suspicions he has about his sister-in-law. Danny reacts by driving off in anger, and is killed in a car accident. Danny's wife also dies several months later, and her three children are orphaned. Ian feels enormous guilt about the death of his brother, and wishes to make amends. He goes to the Church of the Second Chance to seek forgiveness.
Jun 08, 2012 Marty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like Anne Tyler, but this book didn't intrigue me. It was about a man who feels guilty because he thinks he has caused his brother's death. He quits college and takes on the responsibility of caring for his brother's baby and two other children, the children of his brother's wife, who also dies. Ian gets involved in a church that believes in second chances. He kind of goes overboard with religion and following the rules of his church. The kids turn out okay in the end. The book is all about ho ...more
Sep 09, 2012 Lori rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book started out promisingly enough, but I felt as though Tyler lost her grip on her main character, Ian Bedloe. Ian's descent into mindless fundamentalism slides the narrative toward tedium and outright boredom. The character of Ian became for me, not just unlikeable, but boring. Two-thirds of the way through the book, Tyler devotes a considerable number of pages toward describing the house-cleaning that occurs following a supporting character's death. My response: who cares?

Oct 28, 2009 CC rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nope. This book didn't do it for me. Frankly, I wanted to slap the main character and that's never a good sign. Guilt is a crippling emotion, but after a while Ian seemed less bound by guilt and more bound by his own stupidity. I didn't buy it for a second -- him raising three kids that weren't his and seemingly never coming to the conclusion that he just needed to snap the hell out of it already.
Nov 30, 2008 Jayne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved Anne Taylor's style of writing. I wanted to read every word. The characters were very interesting. I didn't care for the ending, in fact I almost lost interest in the last couple chapters. The chapters were way too long. What could have been a 5 ended up a 3.
Jan 20, 2008 Steven rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: insomniacs.
Good Lord! It went on and on and on and nothing ever happened. I wouldn't have finished it if it hadn't been assigned by a professor.
Faller Clementine
Engrossing, moving, and thoroughly sentimental.

This novel is not perfect in the least, but it is unquestionably something to think about. Even middle class, white, wholesome families inhabiting the all-American suburbia have depth to them (is primarily what I gained from this story). Well-fleshed people, not characters, are what comprise this story--something not many other novels that I have read can boast.

Side-note: the Middle Eastern foreigners are a static (but absolutely hilarious!) additi
Mar 12, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What happens when you're the kind of person who feels everlasting guilt for something that surely sucks but wasn't intentional yet you're living as if you purposely killed someone ??
That's how I felt what Saint Maybe was about, the heart of it.
We have the Bedloe Family in the 60's where things are all Leave It To Beaver until it's not. We have the Elder Bedloe's and their three children, Danny Ian and Claudia. The story is about Ian, the youngest (surprise) child who's biggest conc
Jul 29, 2014 Ebony rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ok, So this book was interesting. It was more of a "What happened happened" kind of book. It was deep, but not so deep that it hurt my brain. While I was reading it, I wondered what would have happened had Ian not decided to help his brothers kids. If he hadn't walked into that church, who's doctrine is not Biblical, what would have become of those kids? What would have become of Ian. He probably just would have gotten old doing something else and living his life and looking back at life and bei ...more
Jan 31, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
It's 1965, and the Bedloes are just your average all-American family living an ideal, apple-pie existence in Baltimore, Maryland. Theirs are simple, loving, happy lives. 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 Danny.

Depressed and depleted, Ian is almost crushed under the weight of a nearly unb
Alison Morgan
Sep 02, 2009 Alison Morgan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE Anne Tyler. Every time I sit down to write a novel (haha, that sounds really funny) I draw on Anne Tyler and Jane Austen for inspiration, because I love the way they make an ordinary person/family, and the minutiae of their daily lives, so fascinating. Argh! If only I could do that, I wouldn't have to spend tons of money and time on a law school education - I could just sit back and let the royalties roll in. Anyway, Anne Tyler as a writer is totally realistic, eccentric, funny, sad, and ...more
Apr 23, 2009 MaryAnn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a long time ago and have kept it on the shelf as a good friend to revisit. But recently I listened to an abridged version. I don't usually listen to an abridgment because as a rule they are poorly done.

This rendering of Saint Maybe was no exception but the reader was John Lithgow and despite the lousy editing the greatness of the story shone through. The essential message, that we all have an impact on each other all the time, whether we want to or not. And that impact can be g
Life is going well for eighteen-year-old Ian Bedloe. He has great parents, a girlfriend, a newlywed brother, Danny, and college in his future. But Danny’s fatal car crash darkens Ian’s world. He feels anger, guilt, and partial responsibility for what might well be his brother’s suicide.

Saint Maybe is a compelling story about different types of loss, and the ramifications of life-changing moments. The book made me want to keep reading to see what happens to Ian. I wanted him and other characters
Aug 13, 2012 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poignant, good-humoured and full of the quirky details that make up everyday life, Saint Maybe is vintage Anne Tyler. It's the story of Ian, a young man who feels he is responsible for his brother's suicide and spends the rest of his life trying to atone for what he has done, in the process giving up his own ambitions and taking responsibility for the care of his brother's step-children.

Although the majority of the narrative is seen from Ian's point of view, we also get glimpses of his world fr
Oct 08, 2013 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I keep thinking about this book. An unexpected tragedy puts the main character in a position to take on an unwanted burden. He accepts he responsibility and does it ever so well, changing his life and those around him for the better.

I love Anne Tyler's books. This was different than others in that it was not about adult relationships as much as about a single character and his relationship with his parents and the children he helps to raise. The book moves along slowly, which I liked, because it
Mar 29, 2009 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books of all time. Tyler has an unrivaled talent for describing the small details, the quiet moments, and somehow weaves an entire character's life from these seemingly small details and quiet moments. She has mastered the brushstroke technique, and this is particularly apparent in Saint Maybe. This tale of redemption focuses on Ian Bedloe, a young man who, in a moment of impatient irritation, a moment that could happen to any of us, unthinkingly causes a terrible tragedy in h ...more
Nov 09, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It was one of those books that I hated to put down because I just had to get back to the characters. The writing was fantastic, and the characters were real and wonderfully flawed. A favorite for sure.
Kara Hansen
Giving this one a 3.5. I always enjoy Anne Tyler, and Saint Maybe was no exception. While the story was not action-packed, she somehow makes the mundane and everyday life of her characters most interesting. Ian Bedloe joins the Church of the Second Chance and thus begins his journey and quest for forgiveness and release of the guilt he constantly feels. I really felt that all the characters in this book were given a second chance~ for different reasons and at different times. An enjoyable read a ...more
This story written by anyone else but Anne Tyler would be garbage. This is a tale of an ordinary family with relatively ordinary problems - yet told in a way that kept my interest as well as a "can't put it down" thriller. Tyler's books contain some of the best character studies I've ever read - her insights into the human psyche never cease to amaze me! I realized when trying to place this book on my virtual Goodreads bookshelves, that Anne Tyler really needs a category of her own. There's noth ...more
May 23, 2014 Africableu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anne Tyler has a way of reaching in and grabbing you by the heart and not letting go. This book, like all her others, deals with humans--real, flawed, lovely, irritating, fabulous humans--and Tyler is such a great writer that the reader forgets the characters are fictional. Tyler's easy attention to detail, the descriptions she drops casually into the book, the easy natural pace of the story, all prove that she is an incredibly adept writer, and her characters always linger in my mind long after ...more
Who knew there's so much that can happen to the ideal, normal-but-quirky family? Apparently Anne Tyler.

Masterfully crafted and exquisitely detailed, the splendor is more than just a seemingly simple family changed by a tragic event. The layers of the story are not elaborate, yet rich and breathtaking in its characters and themes. It's perfect if you're looking for something deep. A real piece of beauty here, imho, and a rare read.
Oct 13, 2007 gypsyclk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book because it was on a summer reading list when I was in high school, but I remembered it was one of my favorites that year. A wonderful book about how one mistake can change your life and how life is all about second chances. I love how complex Anne Tyler's characters are and it feels like you grow up with the main character of this novel.

I've since re-read this book as an adult and it is still just as powerful.
MyACPL Athens County Public Libraries
from James:

I give a lot of book recommendations and often get suggestions from library patrons. Last week I was helping someone who wanted to know the title of all of Anne Tyler's books; she was going into the hospital for a hip replacement and wanted to have something to read. Saint Maybe is her favorite book and she wanted to make sure she hadn't missed a Tyler title along the way.

We had a real conversation about the book and I gave her some other authors that I thought she would enjoy. After
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Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated at nineteen from Duke University and went on to do graduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University. The Beginner's Goodbye is Anne Tyler's nineteenth novel; her eleventh, Breathing Lessons , was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts a ...more
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“Peculiar, isn’t it?” he said. “First you’re scolding your children and then all at once they’re so smart they’re scolding you.” 0 likes
“a church without symbols, a church without baptism or communion where only the real things mattered and where the atonement must be as real as the sin itself, where for instance if you broke a playmate’s toy in anger you must go home immediately and fetch a toy of your own, of as good or better quality, and give it to that playmate for keeps and then announce your error at Public Amending on Sunday.” 0 likes
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