Cam Mannino's Reviews > Patron Saint of Liars

Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
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's review
Jan 19, 2012

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Read in January, 2012

An interesting first novel, with all the strengths and weaknesses of a good writer finding her footing. Rose arrives pregnant at a house for unwed mothers in Kentucky, having left a husband behind in California. What to make of this prickly, restless, powerful woman, the two men who love her and her child growing up among nuns and pregnant girls? Engaging, lovable characters, I wanted to know what would happen to them. I wanted to hang out with them for the whole book. Ultimately, though, for me, there are too many loose ends. Why did Rose's beloved mother never seek her out? Why would she not have shared Rose's postcards with Rose's grieving and kindly husband? Why has Son, the second man in her life, never returned to his family when he's such a loving person? What is Rose afraid of and why? Patchett raises lots of interesting questions that might make for a good book discussion. And I like open-ended novels. But this one doesn't give me enough to go on. I don't get enough material to come to my own conclusions. Patchett seems again to have left me as an outsider, enjoying the book, but unable to penetrate very far below the surface of her intriguing characters.
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