SAINT TRAINING by Elizabeth Fixmer


Age Range: 8 - 14
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Fixmer's debut stuffs so many issues into one novel that it never reaches a conclusion, which is unfortunate, because her headstrong, resourceful heroine, Mary Clare O'Brian, deserves better. It's 1967. Mary Clare's mother is despondent over her tenth pregnancy, her father's job won't pay the bills and Sister Agony wants $12 for Mary Clare's little sister's First Communion supplies. Mary Clare bargains with God: If he helps her family out of this mess, she will become a saint. Mary Clare means it, but she doesn't stop at prayer--she sells homemade cookies, goes without her school lunch and even sells her glow-in-the-dark statues of the Holy Virgin to get Gabriella what she needs. That's when the book loses track--friendship problems, the Vietnam War, Vatican II, civil-rights riots, the Feminine Mystique--it's all in there, and by the end, the number of issues combines with a truly staggering amount of religious detail to overwhelm the story. Mary Clare's letters from a Mother Superior are some of the best passages of the book--light, clear and focused, the way one wishes the narrative could be. (Historical fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-310-72018-8
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2010