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Saint Sebastian's Head

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Weeble has a secret so painful she's hiding it even from herself. At ten, she meets Lauren Case, a book-loving daydreamer who offers Weeble refuge from the everyday degradations of life in her poor Midwestern family. Weeble fiercely protects Lauren, just as she protects her sister Annie. But there are forces at work she can't withstand. When Richard Lee Grady arrives in to ...more
Paperback, 297 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Zephon Books
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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  55 ratings  ·  19 reviews


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Dan Porter
Aug 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Saint Sebastian’s Head is a darkly enchanting tale of a young woman's haunting past, and love's power to melt its icy grip on her heart. The story opens with Weeble meeting a somewhat mystical artist – Tom Paul – when he emerges from a dumpster on the route of her training run, and alternates between her present life in Boston and reminiscences of her childhood in the Midwest. In the present, she is four years out of college with an engineering degree, a dog, a cat, and a few friends. She takes ...more
Werner
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Serious fiction readers who can handle bad language, sexual content, and very dark themes
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." --Gospel of John 1:5

Author LeAnn Neal Reilly doesn't use the above Bible verse as an epigraph for this gut-wrenching novel, but it would serve very aptly. Both light and darkness are very powerfully in evidence here; indeed, though I haven't actually read Dante's The Divine Comedy: Inferno/Purgatory/Paradise/Life of Dante, and although this is solidly realistic fiction set in the modern U.S. (roughly from 1974-1997), I'm i
...more
Maryf
Aug 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An intense and emotional page-turner you won’t want to miss...

Think back, if you can bear it, to your life’s darkest regret. Could
you have done anything differently? And without the benefit of hindsight,
of maturity, of age and education? This doubt is the specter that haunts
Weeble, a young woman who has experienced trauma and survived – barely.
Weeble has shielded herself with every possible layer of insulation from
her fears – estrangement from her family, education, isolation,
preoccupations with
...more
David Lentz
Dec 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I was fascinated by the play of light and dark in this luminous novel about a young woman dealing with a personal atrocity to which she was both a witness and victim. This novel is layered and the deeper one looks into the meaning of this germinal work, the more light that is shed upon it. The protagonist, Weeble, is a runner who seeks to fortify herself through fitness training from the worst possible, recurring reinactments in her mind of an atrocity. She runs, bikes and swims in circles but t ...more
Missy
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
"When you finish a serious novel, you're older, wiser, and sadder..." according to one of the characters in "Saint Sebastian's Head" and I feel that is so true! This was an upsetting topic which was well written into an excellent novel that was in parts deeply troubling and, yet, let a little light shine through in the support of a young adults close group of friends that refused to give up on her. Not only was it an excellent read, the author is donating a portion of her sales to a group that h ...more
Krisi Keley
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: literary-fiction
Saint Sebastian’s Head is an incredibly moving novel about one woman’s journey from a childhood of dark tragedy to the light of healing that can come from love.

When Weeble, an engineer training for a triathlon, meets artist Tom Paul as she runs by him one night while he’s dumpster-diving, the pretend okay world she’s constructed for herself begins to crumble, forcing her to face the traumatic past that still haunts her subconscious, ruling her life and relationships despite how hard she’s tried
...more
Bobby
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Whoa! This novel was one intense read and definitely not for those who shy away from graphic portrayals of life's tragedy. The amazing part of this novel is that the author was able to weave a fairy tale within the story. Maybe that is because, to a point, life is filled with fairy tales. Definitely, the white knight who comes riding in to save the day is fiction, but if one dares to save oneself, the white knight may still be there to meet you if you are willing to open your eyes and actually s ...more
Derek Gentry
Dec 05, 2011 rated it liked it
When we meet 26-year-old Weeble, she's living alone in Cambridge, MA with her rescued pets, Hero and Flat Stanley. Although she has put some distance between herself and her tumultuous upbringing as "a poor biker's daughter from Missouri," she's still struggling with the fear and shame of a childhood filled with sexual abuse and violence.

Weeble has found ways of coping with her past—training for a triathalon, and working on a memorial for the child victims of serial killers—but nothing has banis
...more
Andrew
Dec 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 2012
I won this book through the Goodreads First Reads program.
I was not sure what to make of this when I first started reading it. The narrative switches between the present and the past, using the relevant tense to tell you which you were in, which was a useful device to tell you roughly where you were chronologically.
The story is about a young woman coming to terms with a horrendous past. I especially like the way that you are drip fed the information about what made her the way she is; at first
...more
Janell
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owns-a-copy
This book was hard for me to begin to read but I couldn't put it down after I began reading it.
The Author accomplished her mission when writing this story. I have every emotion alive inside me
after reading, "Saint Sebastian's Head." I can't say I enjoyed the book because the story is sad. I will recommend the book. It is an excellent read.
Lana
Oct 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very well written, emotionally intense. This book grabs you and does not let go. It deals with difficult issues in a very mature way.
Angela Dickens
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Tough subject matter but overall very good.
Laura Leaney
Dec 25, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the first half of this book quite a bit. The author creates a compelling voice for her protagonist, Weeble (whose real name is not revealed until the end), a victim of sexual assault from her perverted half brother - and later, as we discover, a more serious crime while in early adolescence. The book is told from an adult perspective, but it is a perspective that is skewed by her past. LeAnn Neal Reilly deftly keeps much of the mystery surrounding Weeble's nightmares a secret, slowly u ...more
Dierdra McGill
Sep 03, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I picked this up because this is something I should love. I love this type of book and the reviews were really great.
I never got into the story and was so glad when I was finally finished. I did not care about Weeble and I never felt that connection with Tom Paul at all. In fact he annoyed me, that was probably the only emotion I felt for anyone the entire book.
I didn't care for the writing style of the book and the descriptions of some things just seemed over the top and trying to hard to get
...more
Erin
Dec 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
I received this as a first read giveaway.

This is a very dark novel about redemption and forgiveness. Kate is a girl that grows up in a neglectful home where she is sexually abused by her brother. She is also kidnapped by a serial killer and suffers tremendous abuse by him (although most of the abuse is simply hinted at and not explicitly discussed). She finally meets someone that can see her potential. I suppose, in the end, that this is a romance, but mostly it is about Kate finding her inner
...more
Mary
Dec 17, 2011 marked it as to-read
Shelves: first-reads, own, received
I won Saint Sebastian's Head from First Reads. I look forward to reading it now that its arrived.
I've only had time to read the first chapter and I'm already impressed. Just 24 pages were enough to make me want to know what happens in the rest of the book. It was also a well written opening chapter and a professionally produced volume(for those of you who care about the book's cover and binding). I'll get to the rest of the story when I have some time next year. Thanks to the author for sending
...more
Catty-cat
Dec 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
I liked it, I really loved Weeble, she is so strong and she felt genuine. L.N.Reilly really managed to show us the hopelessness of Weeble's childhood.
I am not a big fan of the paranormal side and I really disliked Tom Paul, I believe she deserved someone stronger emotionally, he comes off as naive and clueless.
L.D.
Dec 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to L.D. by: Dan Porter
Comments to follow.
Farah
Dec 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was beautifully written, but was so very depressing. But I loved it. Thank you Dan for recommending it for me.
Sara
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Jan 07, 2012
Sandy
rated it it was amazing
Oct 26, 2013
Edina
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Feb 25, 2012
Asails F
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Feb 11, 2012
DJ
rated it it was ok
Feb 03, 2017
Lew Surfer
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Apr 24, 2012
Rennie Bottali
rated it it was amazing
May 18, 2016
Scott Neal Reilly
rated it it was amazing
Oct 30, 2011
Melanie
rated it it was ok
Oct 18, 2012
Rebecca Thomas
rated it really liked it
Apr 21, 2012
Ayyoub
rated it it was amazing
Oct 26, 2012
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Small and Indepen...: Saint Sebastian's Head, by LeAnn Neal Reilly 1 4 Feb 02, 2017 03:27PM  

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According to Kirkus Reviews, LeAnn Neal Reilly writes novels "about resilient women caught in magical, otherworldly circumstances." She grew up in the Midwest, migrated east to Pittsburgh for graduate school, and then migrated even farther east to the Boston suburbs where she raised three children.