Customer Reviews for

Saul and Patsy

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2005

    excellent contemporary novel

    An excellent contemporary novel, both comic and serious, with psychological probing of its main characters. There are a couple of minor complaints some of the psychological analyses of minor characters don't really add much to the novel, and strike me as digressive but these don't detract from the novel's overall impact. I'd caution the would-be reader against reading the Kirkus Review, which includes a spoiler. Baxter's style, in this novel at least, reminds me strongly of John Cheever's fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2005

    Great Book!

    I really enjoyed this book. Although it did not have a conventional ending (none of his books do), the story was definitely well written. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a realistic tale of life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2005

    not so great

    It was just ok. We read it for our bookclub, and nobody cared for it that much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2004

    Lame Ending!!!

    I really liked this book- but i needed a much better ending!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2004

    The Five Oaks Golem

    Every teacher has misgivings about students they wished they could have helped more.Imagine the consternation that would result from a student committing suicide on your front lawn! This is the scenario played out in the novel,'Saul and Patsy' by Charles Baxter, the 2002 National Book Award finalist for 'The Feast of Love'. An unlikely couple, Saul, a neurotic Jew, and Patsy, a middle-American Protestant, marry and settle down in the Midwestern town of Five Oaks where their favorite amusement is playing Scrabble. Saul teaches high-school English while Patsy works in a bank. Their idyllic life is spoiled when a student in Saul's remedial class, Gordon Himmelman, starts stalking the family,now including baby Emily Marie (E.M). Despite moving to a new home, the couple find Gordy standing in their yard, looking into the sky with blank, vacant eyes. Saul likens Gordy to a Jewish'Golem', a soulless monster, while Patsy calls him a zombie. One day, Gordy destroys Saul's beehives; another time,he brings a handgun and fires it into the air. Instead of reporting the incident to the police, Saul, the guilt-ridden Jew, merely takes Gordy home. From this moment on, Gordy is a constant presence in their lives. Saul and Patsy become used to him, when abruptly, Gordy shoots himself in the mouth, committing suicide. Saul is suffused with remorse, unable to love Patsy in the intense way he did before. 'Something precious to him felt trashed', he felt. Later, he thinks,'He was offering himself to me for adoption. .But I didn't want him. I couldn't take him'. Gordy's death resonates throughout the community. Saul is held responsible. High-schoolers dress like Gordy and stand in Saul's yard as the teenager used to do. The novel comes to a climax when a group of 'Himmels' as the teenagers call themselves, storm into Saul's yard on Halloween night, intent on avenging the hapless boy's death. Finally, Saul stops temporizing , defuses the situation and resolves the doubts about his own existence. In this novel, Baxter hones in on his characters directly, juxtaposing Jewish mysticism with everyday Midwestern life. He contrasts Saul's urban Eastern angst with the more tempered outlook of Patsy and people of Five Oaks with stunning results.

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