Mrsgaskell's Reviews > Saint Maybe

Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler
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's review
Aug 13, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: own, 8-star

Anne Tyler's insights into families and relationships always make for good compelling reading. Saint Maybe spans over 25 years in the lives of the Bedloe family. When we meet them in 1965, the two older children have already left home. Daughter Claudia is married and has already given birth to several children, just the start of what will become a large brood. Danny, nearing thirty, the popular and athletic middle child, has a steady job at the post office and although he's had many girlfriends is still single. Ian at 17 is the youngest, an afterthought years younger than his siblings, who idolizes his elder brother. The parents, Doug, a high school teacher, and wife Bee are proud of their family and very accepting of what comes their way. When Danny comes home to introduce Lucy, a divorcee and mother of two, it is a bit of a shock to the family that the couple who only met a few weeks ago are already engaged and the wedding takes place almost immediately. But the family accepts Lucy and her two not particularly prepossessing children, Agatha and Thomas, and appear delighted when Lucy soon announces that she is pregnant. The baby, Daphne, is born prematurely and Ian is the only one who is seemingly willing to see the truth that Daphne is not a preemie and that Danny could not possibly be her father. Lucy's behaviour and frequent demands for babysitting services from Ian worry him and he eventually blurts out his suspicions to Danny with tragic results. Lucy's death several months later results in the Bedloe's being saddled with the three young children. Ian, having discovered The Church of the Second Chance, quits college to help raise the children, a form of atonement. The Bedloes could easily be defined as a dysfunctional family and yet for all their quirks and weaknesses, they make the concept of family work and one can't quite help liking them and cheering for them.

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