"For every difference that makes us unique, there is a common thread that connects us all. We share the need for home and community, for love and respect" (Hallmark Licensing, Inc.). The novel Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler is a compelling account of the evolution of a family, and one solitary member who manages to keep the family a unit through his love, faith in religion, and support.
It is the story of the Bedloe clan who possess perfect, untainted morals, and could be compared to the Brady's. But in a split second, the American Dream is gone before their eyes because of one tragic event: the death of eldest brother, Danny Bedloe. Ian, his youngest brother, blames himself, thinking that he caused Danny's accident. Later, Danny's wife, Lucy, suddenly dies as well, leaving the couple's three children. One night, Ian stumbles to The Church of the Second Chance, and becomes an active member. The Church teach him that in order to attain salvation, he has to give up his carefree lifestyle. lan follows the practices of the Church, and in order to relieve his guilty conscience he becomes a single parent at 19. But in the end, Ian manages to raise the children who become a successful, well-rounded adult.
This novel shows the awful reality of the destruction of the American family and the strains of single parenting. However, what makes this novel so unique is the way the reader actually begins to feel compassion for the characters because of the hardships they all encounter.
This novel might not relay moral themes dealing with racism or historical events or women's liberation, but it does deal with what this world needs most C love. .
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.