Saints and Martyrs: Novel
Saints and Martyrs depicts a seventeen-year-old teenager on a journey to attaining sainthood as he battles with his natural, earthly cravings and lives with his overbearing mother. Damian plans to write a biography about his late “mighty, successful, famous” father, who he misses greatly. But how can he make his father’s plumbing job, which he had fun and entertained clients with, resemble the “somber diligence” that defined Saint Joseph? Damian’s wish is to make his father appear saintlike—a quality he wants to achieve for himself too. First, he must repent of his lust and his unsaintly frustration at home. Tired of his mother pressuring him into the priesthood and compromising the sincerity of his calling to join the seminary, he plans to run away, move in with his weightlifting coach, and look for a job. Eventually, he finds the seminary does not meet his expectations, and instead of bringing him closer to his father in heaven, it is filled with dirty secrets and a reality he would have to come to terms with.
Like the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.” Damian thinks that attaining his goals would make him happier and more spiritual but later finds himself caught in a web of lies, which defeats his purpose. Consequently, he discovers a more liberating, less superficial path. The plot reveals how we come to get the full picture of the dreams we initially glamorized while growing up. Damian’s dream of getting into the priesthood would resonate with everyone who has ever had a burning dream or goal. The book also shows how important it is to remember the reason we started on our paths and not get derailed along the way. Parents would learn how to relate with their children and trust them to make the right choices.
Damian is portrayed to be quite observatory and perceptive. An example is his observation of a professor’s frail hands, which were unlike his dad’s hands: “calloused, taut, and strong, even on his deathbed.” Aaron Roe’s vivid descriptions transported me to the front rows of the scenes; I could almost perceive the “fresh smell of pines” that gave the grounds “an alpine ambiance”.
Saints and Martyrs is clearly different, though in a good way. In fact, I loved it! I get a warm, happy feeling every time I remember the story and its protagonist—whom I happened to like as he reminded me of my struggles with the same issue of one’s hormones clashing with their Christian values. I recommend the book to readers who love narratives about discovering oneself and anyone interested in reading a good book that would make them laugh, reminisce, and learn at the same time.
|Page Count||334 pages|
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