PATRON SAINT OF LIARS by Ann Patchett
Genre: Fiction and Literature
Reading Began: May 2, 2005
Completed Reading: May 15, 2005
Overall Rating: Eight out of ten
Recommendation to others: Great story that changes its heart again and again.
Why I chose to read this book: Another terrific review in Entertainment Weekly!
Other titles by this author: Bel Canto
Comments: The book begins by focusing solely on its protagonist, Rose, and spends many chapters telling her sad, if selfish, tale wherein she has left her husband and traveled halfway across the country to seek refuge and a new beginning at a home for “unwed” mothers in Kentucky. The story chronciles her pregnancy and subsequent decision to keep the child she intended to give up. It is at this point that the story truly begins. The second and third acts of the book still use Rose as its central force, but she is mostly absent in the tale. Instead, we live through the eyes of her new husband and her daughter, respectively, and in their tellings we discover that Rose may not have been such an interesting character after all.
I was surprised at how much I came to love the subsequent characters of Son (the husband) and Cecilia (the daughter) after having found a great affection for Rose. It is a credit to Patchett’s talent that I wavered so completely in my affections during the reading of this novel, and I will most certainly look forward to reading other Patchett works in the future. This tale was engrossing and well worth every minute of reading.
There were so many things I needed to know, how to fix a car, how to lie. My mother taught me how to put on eyeliner without smudging it, but life was going to take more than that. Part One: Chapter Two (p. 34)
The love for a woman and the love for a child are not the same thing. With a woman, there’s always the sense that they’re loaning themselves to you. You have to remember that they could go at any time, and if a man’s smart he never forgets that. He’s just grateful for every minute she’s there. But a child you come to expect. Their love is so much like breathing that it’s a part of you, a leg, a lung. The look on Sissy’s face whenever I came into the room was something I now depended on, the feel of her arms wrapped around my neck, the way she called for me when she was scared in the night. After she was born I never thought about her father again because in the center of my bones I was her father and no one will ever tell me that being the one to make love to Rose nine months before Sissy’s birth would make me more so. When new girls came to Saint Elizabeth’s and said, Who are you? What is your name? she always said, Cecilia Abbott. That’s who she was. Abbott. Mine. I couldn’t see how Rose could be more of a parent than me. Didn’t I rock her to sleep? Didn’t I tell her stories and show her the woods and buy her penny candy in town? Didn’t I love her with my whole life? That one night Rose slept with Sissy was the only time she threatened to take her away from me. As mad as she was, I think she saw it would be the one thing I’d never come back from. Part Two: Chapter 3 (p. 176)