Friday, April 18, 2008

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

I just finished reading this book yesterday. It tells the story of Rose, starting in 1968, who ends up at Saint Elizabeth's, a home for unwed mothers. She was married and found out she was pregnant. One day, she just decided to get in the car and drive across country and ended up at Saint Elizabeth's. In the end, she decides to keep her daughter and in fact, stays on at Saint Elizabeth's as the cook. The book is split into three sections: Rose's story, Son's story (Rose's second husband), and Cecilia's story (Rose's daughter). The title of the book is in reference to St. Elizabeth and the fact that all the pregnant girls that come there lie. They lie about who the father of their baby is, where he is, what they'll do when they go home, etc. Also, there are many lies of omission throughout the book, especially on Rose's part. But really none of the characters do much talking to each other. It's more of a dance around each other.

I picked this book up in the book store and read the prologue which describes a farmer who discovers a spring on his property. It turns out the spring has mystical healing powers and a grand hotel is built nearby to accommodate all the visitors to the spring. Eventually, the spring dries up and people stop visiting. The building becomes Saint Elizabeth's. I thought perhaps the spring would pop up again throughout the book or by the end. But it never reappeared.

Although the book took a slightly different course than I initially thought it would, I enjoyed it. It was a quick read. And I liked reading from the different character's point of view. Rose's character sort of annoyed me throughout the book because she was never happy and I'm not sure why she couldn't let herself be happy. But this puzzled the other characters as well. :-)

Since I haven't read her other books yet, I'm not sure how it measures up, but I liked her writing style and hope to read Bel Canto and Run in the near future.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

I read this book a while ago. I remember really liking it, but I don't remember much else. I have thought about reading more of this author, but haven't had the chance yet.