Saints of Augustine by P.E. Ryan made me laugh out loud four times. This makes it a very funny book. It’s also touching and insightful, a wonderful read.
The story concerns two high school boys, once best of friends, now each on his own facing a different set of very serious problems and wishing he had a best friend to talk to. Charlie Perrin is still dealing with the aftermath of his mother’s death from cancer one year ago. His father rarely leaves the house, spending his days drinking and staring at the television. Charlie escapes via a pot smoking habit that has cost him his girlfriend and his car. Sam Findley faces a family that has broken up. His mother has a new boyfriend; his father does too. Sam can deal with his father and would be able to deal with his mother as well except her new boyfriend is clearly homophobic. This cuts Sam twice, once for his father and once for himself, because he can no longer deny that he is also gay.
This sounds like quite a soap opera and it really is, but the boys have lighter relationships with other friends and each has a strong sense of humor. Their dialogue is both believable and very funny. The chapter describing Sam’s first date with Justin had me smiling all the way through. Each of the main characters is believable and likable, I found myself actively rooting for them both. When they finally do meet up and hash things out, the scene is both very funny and very moving. In the end, things are resolved enough to know that each boy will be fine, and left open enough to make me want a sequel. I usually never really want a sequel with a book like Saints of Augustine, but this time I’d really like to know what happens next and I think P.R. Ryan is a capable enough writer not to disappoint.
P.E. (Patrick) Ryan is my favorite writer who you’ve probably not heard of. This book and his novel for adults, Send Me, remain two of the best books I’ve read since I started blogging.
I first posted this review on my old blog, Ready When You Are, C.B. along with reviews of two other books by Mr. Ryan and a interview I did with him. I’m going to be moving them all over to this new blog over the next couple of weeks.
This week I read a blog-0-versery post that mention how painful it was to read over old reviews. Everyone in the comments section agreed. I was the only one who didn’t. I’ve enjoyed reading over my old reviews, almost to the point where I’m glad I have an excuse to do so. There’s only one thing in the review above that makes me cringe. It’s the phrase. “capable enough writer’. Yikes. Just who did I think I was back then?