Life can turn dark in the twinkling of an eye, and in a spiritual emergency, we can find a path which builds character in ways we never thought possible. That is exactly what happens in Anne Tyler's novel Saint Maybe. In 1965 Baltimore, Ian is a 17 year old who belongs to what is known in the community as "Waverly Street's version of the ideal, apple-pie household." Still, his parents are somewhat taken aback when their oldest son, Danny, decides to marry Lucy, a divorcee with two small children. Soon thereafter a baby girl, Daphne, arrives.
One evening, Ian, feeling pressured by too much babysitting, expresses in harsh, unforgiving terms his doubts about Lucy's loyalty to Danny. His shocked brother commits suicide and shortly afterwards, the bereft Lucy overdoses on sleeping pills. Overwhelmed by guilt, Ian joins the Church of the Second Chance where Reverend Emmett tells him that to make amends for his wrongdoing, he must drop out of college and raise his brother's children. Ian does just that and takes a job as a carpenter. When he buckles under the difficulty of taking care of these children, Reverend Emmett advises him, "View your burden as a gift. It's the theme that has been given you to work with. Accept that and lean into it."
Readers will find Anne Tyler's 12th novel to be an invigorating spiritual journey filled with revelations about the meaning of grace, giving yourself to God, forgiveness, and prayer. And no American novelist can write as well about the ups and downs of the family circle. Don't miss Saint Maybe!