The Patron Saint of Lost Girls

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Maureen Aitken’s short story collection The Patron Saint of Lost Girls attempts to illustrate the struggles and the strains of childhood and adulthood on young women. Her protagonists are recognizable, her scenarios familiar, and her dialogue flat. There is little here of interest unless you are a reader who hasn’t ever encountered a writer attempting to tell these kinds of stories. If you have read stories like this, chances are you’ve read better.

There are some beautiful sentences in the collection, and it’s clear Ms. Aitken has an ear for the rhythms of speech, but the stories as individual units lack depth or development. Very little is at stake for these young women, so there is very little to compel the reader to keep reading.

What the collection gets right is a hyperawareness of detail that, at times, reveals something heartfelt and true. Her description of raspberries as “hairy berries” and her illustration of a young woman’s desire to fit in with a crowd so badly that she tries to diet her way to acceptance are honest and well done. But these interconnected stories of a young girl’s coming of age in the Detroit of the 70s and 80s don’t have the emotional or psychological weight to make the book worth reading as a whole.

Reviewed By:

Author Maureen Aitken
Star Count 3/5
Format Trade
Page Count 172 pages
Publisher Southeast Missouri State Univ Press
Publish Date 2018-Oct-08
ISBN 9780997926279
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue January 2019
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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